Released: 1993, Lethal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
(Forgotten Gem Review)
Back in early ´90s, for totally devastating and burning death metal, the fertile Finnish soil was ruled by many great outfits that managed to get the word out around the world, carving the names of their bands in the minds of many underground metal heads forever. One of the most wicked and lethal bands were definitely Belial – hailing from the northern part of Finland Oulu, which was also considered as some sort of mecca for the heaviest and most evil Finnish metal bands back then (and still is, I believe).
Belial built up their reputation on a blend of both black and death metal, spicing it up with some tiny elements from NWOBHM, especially on their debut album NEVER AGAIN.
NEVER AGAIN was also some sort of a swan song to the known style Belial had adopted for themselves over the years because the band´s second album – simply titled 3, introduced Belial as a grunge/rock sounding act, which was something nobody expected from Belial in 1995 - only 2 years later after they had recorded the now cult-ish NEVER AGAIN.
The eerie and evil atmosphere that dominated the songs throughout the NEVER AGAIN album, was one of Belial´s trademarks for their shamelessly wicked world domination. They also used keyboards in their sound, but luckily very wisely, and only for creating a more crushing atmosphere behind their hell of catchy black/death metal assaults. Jarno Koskinen, who was Belial´s former member and main motor of these northern purveyors of darkness and fear, had a really special, almost inhuman style to bark his satanic verses out from his rotten lungs. He definitely was one of the better death metal vocalists out there - coming out from Finland at that time. There´s not even a slightest question about it.
NEVER AGAIN is still considered one of the finest slabs of death metal that has ever been produced in Finland by many of us – and it´s kind of a shame that this album hasn´t been re-issued yet because it´s really difficult to come by a copy of this excellent piece of Finnish death metal these days. One may even kill for finding the original copy of this, so be warned!