I last caught up with Ba’al on their debut release in 2017 – In Gallows by Mass – which showed a lot of potential. This appears to have now been fulfilled, albeit in a different way than I was initially expecting. Elipsism ably demonstrates how the band have developed and progressed since their early days, (which also includes a new lineup), morphing now into a fully-fledged post-black metal band of sorts. It’s an impressive transition.
Is this post-black metal, or blackened post-metal? Is there a difference? There’s an essay in there somewhere. Drop into any of Ba’al’s impressive songs on Elipsism and you can identify the parts which are more on the black metal side and the parts which are more on the post-metal side, although this is a simplistic separation, as the two parts frequently exist in partnership with each other. At the end of the day, despite whatever your chosen appellation is for the music that Ba’al make, it’s bloody good stuff regardless.
Imagine a modern black metal entity that incorporates elements of sludge, doom, and post-metal into itself, and you’ll have a rough idea of where Elipsism is coming from. A mix of bands such as Cult of Luna, Downfall of Gaia, Inter Arma, Altar of Plagues, Deafheaven and the like wouldn’t be an unfair comparison.
These songs are lengthy and rich in atmosphere. Blackened aggression and furious hostility are combined with ethereal atmosphere and post-metal resplendence to craft highly immersive songs. The melodic aspect of the music is strong and affecting, balanced against an underlying brutality that’s very effective. The songs are mood-driven and have an emotive core that works well. Despite its obvious moments of heaviness and aggression, this is an album of atmosphere and emotion, and it excels in these areas.
The singer, (also in Hecate Enthroned), has joined Ba’al after the debut EP was released, and his voice is definitely an asset to the band. Piercing high shrieks and deep, gut-churning growls are his stock-in-trade and he knows his business well.
Well, Elipsism is hugely impressive. Based on their past material I expected to like Ba’al’s debut album, but I confess I wasn’t expecting it to sound quite like this, nor be as good as it actually is. Elipsism is very highly recommended for any fan of modern extreme metal. Make sure you don’t miss out.