Bal-Sagoth are described on the Metal Archives as being Symphonic/Epic Black Metal. Honestly, I couldn't come up with a better or more appropriate description. They completely embody every single one of those words to the fullest and none of their albums show this better than their 1999 album The Power Cosmic.
The entire album is epic in scope, from the lyrics to the keyboards and the guitars to the drums. Everything is written to be as large as possible. And it works even twelve years later. The production on the album is fantastic. You can clearly hear everything the band wants you to.
The album showcases the band's prog leanings as well. It sounds as if Emerson, Lake and Palmer grew up in Norway listening to Immortal. But don't get me wrong, this is still black metal at it's heart. The vocals are harsh rasps and deep growls. The guitar work is fast and furious and yet can move into slow, sustained notes for the breakdowns with ease. It's unpredictable and glorious.
What takes center stage for me though are the keyboards. They add the little extra bit to push this album from good, to great. They provide the emotion, the backbone and the all out feel of the album. The album tells a sci-fi story and the keyboards are what makes that story come to life. They feel other-worldly and completely inspired by classic sci-fi themes.
So, has The Power Cosmic stood up for twelve years? I say it has. If it was released today it would still become the classic it's considered today.
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