I have fond memories when it comes to Lord Belial. When listening a feeling of nostalgia enthralls me. A feeling which brings me back to the heydays of black metal when both brutal and melodic black metal reigned. While the guys of Lord Belial aren’t softies their music always contained excellent melodies (much like Dissection, Naglfar, Sacramentum and others). Lord Belial has always flown somewhat under the radar and hasn’t received the recognition they should have had (in my opinion).
It is already two decades ago that I saw this Swedish black metal band live. In 2007 I reviewed their “Revelation (the 7th Seal)” album on a different e-zine just before the candle slowly burned out with “The Black Curse” (2008). And then, except from some live shows, everything went silent…for a long while…
But in 2020 the compilation “Wrath of Belial” showed a subtle sign of life. And luckily, they are back from the dead to set the record straight with a new full length. But the big question is: does Lord Belial uphold their quality standard as we are used to?
The answer is: Lord Belial does! With their most diverse album in their discography their newest spawn “Rapture” is a ravishing gem! It makes me forget that this band hasn’t been releasing new work since 2008. When listening to “Rapture” this band shows they are mature yet still very driven to conquer.
Their newest epos starts with “Legion,” which has the speed of a Nazgul in full flight. It is a powerful track yet also bears quite some finesse making it a great opening track. It also reminds me of their brethren Naglfar (which I regard as positive).
“On A Throne of Souls” makes great use of Lord Belial’s signature melodic guitar lines and reminds me a little of Dissection. This song is majestically crafted. It is just sheer fun to hear this band spawning a new song like this out of my speakers.
“Rapture Of Belial” starts with threatening, bone chilling, pounding drums yet quickly evolves in a fast and very melodic song which shows the craftsmanship of this band. With repeating the drum pattern from the beginning in the mid-section and adding acoustic guitar they keep the suspense going without forgetting diversity.
“Destruction,” together with “Devil Incarnate” has a more direct approach but both simply contain killer riffs while “Belie All Gods” lets loose of the throttle losing speed but manages to make clever use of choir and keyboards to create momentum and the beautiful solo enhances the beauty in darkness displayed. Same can be said of the excellent “Lux Luciferi”. I am not going to delve in all tracks. That is up to you. But I would like to point out the superb symphonic elements in closing track “Lamentations” which makes it haunting and an instant dark joy.
Absolutely no fillers can be found on “Rapture” and it is great to hear that Lord Belial is back in excellent form! The songs are top notch and it seems that this band is looking forward while not forgetting to look back. The production of Andy LaRoque is top notch and the cover artwork (Visual Darkness) is simply great. If you are into melodic Swedish black metal you can purchase this album blindly! Great stuff which just might end up in my year list. And let’s hope we get a chance to see Lord Belial perform this album live (together with Sacramentum) and that they acclaim more credit. They certainly deserve it.
Rating: 8,4 / 10
Label: Hammerheart Records
Release date: 27th of May 2022
Written by: Erik
2 On a Throne of Souls
3 Rapture of Belial
5 Belie All Gods
6 Evil Incarnate
7 Lux Luciferi
8 Infinite Darkness and Death
9 Alpha and Omega