Reviewed: May 1, 2022
Released: May 27, 2022, Hammerheart Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
LORD BELIAL is one of the original bands to emerge from Sweden during the second wave. With classic albums such as Enter Moonlight Gate and Unholy Crusade the band has called it quits a few times due to health issues. Now the original line up (sans bassist Anders Backelin) have reformed once again to release their first album in fourteen years simply titled Rapture. Health issues be damned because this band is back with a vengeance. In fact, this could actually be the best album of their career.
“Legion” bursts forth from your speakers like a wall of unmerciful black metal. Blast beats and monstrous riffs kick this thing off in a huge way. They throw some melody in there and a couple of killer solos that just sent this song to another level. This does not sound like band whose last album was recorded almost fifteen years ago. They are tight and ferocious. Following that is one of the singles released from the album, “On a Throne of Souls.” This song slays with its blasting opening to its thrashy mid sections mixed with some melodic tremolos and even some epic keys grace this track. The third track in the opening trio is “Rapture of Belial.” Starting slow only to melt your face with some blasts and amazing riffs. One of the longer songs on the album it reaches epic territory with it’s time changes and some great melodic parts in the middle of the song. With an opening trifecta like that, we would hope that the rest of the album would follow suit.
Well fear not because it does. In fact, this is one of the strongest black metal releases of the year. Each song on the album is as strong or stronger than the one previous. “Belie All Gods” shows a more melodic side of the album while still crushing. Some choir vocals that just slightly appear in the background add to this already huge song. This also shows that this band is not all blasts and speed. This displays a lot me melody and is one of the best tunes on the album. And the fact that this album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in Andy La Rocque’s Sonic Train Studios lets you know that you will have a crisp, clear sound as is evident in the monstrous “Infinite Darkness and Death.” Some clean guitars grace the intro and then comes thunder. This is an epic track that really showcases how they combined all the layers of this song into a huge epic black metal track. Again, this does not sound like a band that has had a fourteen year gap between releases.
I was not expecting to be reviewing anything new by LORD BELIAL so this release caught me completely by surprise. These Swedes have been around for 30 years now and even though it appeared like it could be the end of the road for this band they have returned with a release that not only surpassed all my expectations but could very well be their finest moment. This is essential!