Bal Sagoth - Atlantis Ascendant


Not blessed, or merciful
Apr 11, 2001
Sarf Lundin, Innit
Bal Sagoth - Atlantis Ascendant
Nuclear Blast - 2001
By Rodrigo


There is truly no other band quite like Bal Sagoth. There is no other band to my knowledge that manages to combine symphonic/orchestral musical elements with black metal the way Bal Sagoth does. With their new album, Atlantis Ascendant, Bal Sagoth manages to stay in the same musical formula that has come to be expected of them. While not very different to their last album, The Power Cosmic, this album is perfect for Bal Sagoth fans.

Once again the lyrics deal with fantasy and science fiction stories. Some might call this "cheesy" but I find it to be very refreshing that the lyrics are different from other band’s lyrics. As usual vocalist Byron Roberts mixes his singing from the narrative tone to the more harsh high-pitched style. The constant use of both styles by Byron is another aspect I really enjoy about the band. It adds drama to the songs and it really makes me feel like I am being read to from a sci-fi novel.

Another impressive aspect of Bal Sagoth is the playing of guitarist Chris Maudling. Atlantis Ascendant is filled with a wide array of very cool riffs and leads. "Draconis Albionensis" is one of the best examples of what I am talking about. After Byron finishes off the intro narration, there are some very cool riffs by Chris. This is true throughout the whole song and there is a very cool melodic guitar lead that occurs from 2:32 to 3:16. Another excellent song is the title track. It is a very fast tune that really highlights the best aspects, the great use of the vocal styles, awesome guitars, and excellent symphonic sounds, of Bal Sagoth. These same aspects also apply to the songs "Star Maps of the Ancient Cosmographers" and "The Splendor of a Thousand Swords gleaming Beneath the Blazon of the Hyperborean Empire (Part: III)". (That is a mouthful!) These four songs are really what make Bal Sagoth a fun band to listen to.

Unfortunately, the last three songs of the album do not really impress me as much as the other four. There are good elements in all of them but it just seems that the formula that Bal Sagoth uses gets old in the latter half of the album. The other three songs are actually instrumentals and only "The Epsilon Exordium" is really worth mentioning because its the song that starts off the album in a great manner and I could easily see that song being in a movie like "Conan" or a sci-fi movie.

Overall, Atlantis Ascendant is a better than average album that could have been better but it definitely still is a very fun album to listen to. For Bal Sagoth fans this is a no-brainer buy.
Bal-Sagoth is one of my fave bands. Atlantis Ascendant was great!