Released: 2008, Regain Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Swedish blacksters Lord Belial have existed since 1992, recorded 7 more-or-less successful full-length albums during their career (prior to their latest 8th opus, THE BLACK CURSE), and achieved lotsa status for themselves as one of the true pioneers of the Swedish melodic black metal genre.
To me - for some strange reason I guess, Lord Belial haven´t ever belonged to this list of ´most noteworthy Swedish black metal outfits´, the same way like Dark Funeral, Naglfar, Dissection, Marduk and some other troops of blackness, have done for me personally. They have sort of always come close to them - a few steps behind them, but never quite reached the same value or status of their fellow countrymen.
With the band´s latest collection of melodic black metal hymns, an eleven song effort titled THE BLACK CURSE, the band takes clearly a successful attempt to step into the same box with the aforementioned Swedish cherishers of darkness and evil, introducing the most dynamic and well-crafted album of their respectable long career so far.
Lord Belial have improved on every possible level as far as the songwriting and production on THE BLACK CURSE are concerned, compared to the band´s previous, rather disappointing album REVELATION - THE 7TH SEAL, which was an uninspired effort from them on the whole (with only a handful of good moments on it). The new album from them is full of dynamics. The whole band sounds like they have found and brought back a whole new level of inspiration and motivation to their songwriting process again, and brought their things further into that level of satisfaction where they seem to be most comfortable with themselves, too.
It´s kinda unnecessary to pinpoint every detail in which parts they are far superior on THE BLACK CURSE by comparison to any other albums they have thus far. Thomas Berkelin has clearly gone toward a more evil direction with his vocalism, and I really think the guy has worked very hard to get his vocals into this convincing mould of malicious articulation. The creeping riffs, wicked leads, beautifully building up, haunting melodies - and overall the ominous atmosphere they have managed to capture into the songs on THE BLACK CURSE, make the album one big triumph for them for their determined attempts to conquer the throne of ´The Best Black Metal Album Of 2008´. If they eventually get it, then they have truly deserved it, too.