Album 0192: Bal-Sagoth – Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima Thule

Bal-Sagoth - Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima Thule

Release Date: 1996
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Black Dragons Soar Above The Mountain Of Shadows (Prologue) (03:06)
2. To Dethrone The Witch-Queen Of Mytos Kunn (The Legend Of The Battle Of Blackhelm Vale) (06:46)
3. As The Vortex Illuminates The Crystalline Walls Of Kor-Avul-Thaa (06:36)
4. Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima Thule (07:23)
5. Journey To The Isle Of Mists (Over The Moonless Depths Of Night-Dark Seas) (01:12)
6. The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire (06:03)
7. And Lo, When The Imperium Marches Against Gul-Kothoth, Then Dark Sorcerers Shall Enshroud The Citadel Of The Obsidian Crown (06:29)
8. Summoning The Guardians Of The Astral Gate (06:09)
9. In The Raven-Haunted Forests Of Darkenhold, Where Shadows Reign And The Hues Of Sunlight Never Dance (06:29)
10. At The Altar Of The Dreaming Gods (Epilogue) (02:30)

Total Length: 52:42

Black Dragons Soar Above The Mountain Of Shadows (Prologue) starts off the album with an instrumental intro, it’s pretty nice and sets the tone for the album. To Dethrone The Witch-Queen Of Mytos Kunn (The Legend Of The Battle Of Blackhelm Vale) introduces the metal with their symphonic elements, and they have a very convoluted style. The vocals are actually a bit odd for the style, there are a lot of spoken word voice-overs, and the riffs, rhythms, and tempos change constantly. This is a pretty good song that takes a bit to get into, as does this whole album. As The Vortex Illuminates The Crystalline Walls Of Kor-Avul-Thaa is pretty cool. I don’t really like the spoken section, as it seems to lose all momentum at that point, but the rest of the song is pretty neat.

Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima Thule isn’t terribly interesting to me, it kind of sounds like a mish-mash of ideas. Journey To The Isle Of Mists (Over The Moonless Depths Of Night-Dark Seas) is a nice little symphonic interlude. The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire is better than the previous full song, but I can’t help but wonder if I would like this album more if the production and mix were better. It could be a lot worse of course, but there is a feeling of overbearing darkness I get while listening to this.

And Lo, When The Imperium Marches Against Gul-Kothoth, Then Dark Sorcerers Shall Enshroud The Citadel Of The Obsidian Crown is decent, by this point in the album I’m starting to tire of the style. Summoning The Guardians Of The Astral Gate is better though, and pretty enjoyable after the intro. In The Raven-Haunted Forests Of Darkenhold, Where Shadows Reign And The Hues Of Sunlight Never Dance is good as well, a good end to the album (of the full songs). The album actually ends with At The Altar Of The Dreaming Gods (Epilogue) which is pretty nice, and though some of the vocal samples sound cheesy, they actually still kind of work. I really want to enjoy this album, but something kind of stops me, and I can’t put my finger on it, other than the pretentious length of the song titles and the lyrics.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

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