Released: 2004, Regain Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Lord Belial was founded a winter night in late '92, when four dark souls came together under great influence of alcohol, and a wish to create a black/death metal band. The four dark souls were the three Backelin brothers and Niclas Andersson.
Lord Belial has returned to Los Angered recording studio where they also recorded “UNHOLY CRUSADE”, during '98; the producer being none other than the famous Andy LaRoque (King Diamond). You should think that he would know how to produce a band such as Lord Belial, but to my surprise he has only succeeded halfway. Sure, he managed to make the production sound really heavy and hard, but he has forgot to put in the more mean and aggressive elements. The guitar sound is also quite weak/thin; sounding like the guitar parts are recorded in the bands rehearsing room instead of in a proper studio.
In the bio, Lord Belial are described as being an old school black metal act, and if you read on further down, they have compared the guys to bands, such as Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. To me, Lord Belial sounds more like symphonic black metal with a lot of slower passages through the songs. There is also quite a lot of tempo changes; Tomas being on vocals, sings with a black metal voice, but I wouldn’t describe this as old school black metal in any way.
However, there are eight tracks on “THE SEAL OF BELIAL”, and you only have to take one look at the titles, to understand that they are purely of a black metal genre. I don’t have any info on who’s written the music, lyrics, or when and where the album was recorded.
This fifth album doesn’t feel exiting whatsoever, and there are a bunch of bands that play symphonic black metal much better. I have listened to this album both more than once, and they have done nothing out of the ordinary. Don’t get me wrong, I do like black metal and also symphonic black metal, but Lord Belial are not one of the bands I find attractive and want to hear more of.
If they could improve the production, weak guitar sound, the material, and if Tomas could have changed his vocals sometimes throughout the album, I’d give them a higher rating. I’m also sorry to say that I couldn’t find any song that could be called a Killer track.