Bal Sagoth are a band that I stumbled upon just as they released what would prove to be (hopefully only thus far) their final album. ‘The Chthonic Chronicles’ was the closing chapter to a six record concept that baffles the mind. Started with ‘A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria’, Bal Sagoth took listeners across the Multiverse, through space battles and tales of ancient magic and power. It was the kind of high fantasy concept that I love now, but hadn’t quite fallen for yet in 2006. I appreciated ‘The Chthonic Chronicles’ as a record originally; a heady mix of symphonic black metal with dramatic spoken word segments. But, to truly understand the Multiverse in which it is set, you really need to listen to all six records.
I have done so, but never back to back. It’s something I have wanted to do but have never found the time. Each record has their own additions to the saga, and some concepts or narratives cross albums. Frankly, I’m amazed they didn’t disappear up their own arses with it (well, maybe they did and that’s why they haven’t released anything in so long). Influenced strongly by the tales of Robert E Howard and HP Lovecraft, the Multiverse is the alternative reality where vocalist and lyricist Byron Roberts bases his tales of demigods, disasters, ancient battles and other such things.
You can find a guide to the Bal Sagoth universe here: http://www.bal-sagoth.freeserve.co.uk/glossary.html
An interesting interview with the band on the Metal Hammer website here: http://www.metalhammer.co.uk/news/exclusive-bal-sagoth-discuss-20-years-of-epic-highs-and-lows/ speaks of how the next three Bal Sagoth records have lyrics and cover art already done, so that if the band comes back to life we can expect a new trilogy. If nothing else, you have to appreciate the care and dedication with which the band’s mythos is held together and produced. I admire that a lot. Plus the hexology of the Bal Sagoth saga is made up of strong albums musically, even if they don’t all reach the lofty heights of their seminal ‘Starfire Burning Upon the Ice Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule’. Not only is it their finest work, but it’s probably one of the most metal album names ever.
Please come back to us Bal Sagoth. In these times where such fantasy worlds are becoming more accepted in the mainstream, a band like yourselves would flourish. Imagine, digipack records with comic book style renderings of the songs etc? It’d be a sure fire winner. Well, I’d buy it for sure!