|Review: Belial (Finland) - The Invocation of Belial|
|The Invocation of Belial|
Label: Azermedoth Records
Year released: 2019
Review online: April 27, 2019
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
for:The Invocation of Belial
Rated 4/5 (80%) (2 Votes)
Formed in 1991, Oulu, Finland's black/death metal horde Belial was one of those high profile acts that emerged from this northern country during the first wave of the Finnish Death Metal boom. They called it a day around the mid-nineties, only releasing two full-length studio albums and a handful of demos and EPs. This 26-song compilation, very aptly titled The Invocation of Belial, attempts to bring this band and its history to a new generation of metalheads, or at least those who missed them when they existed.
At that time, many Finnish extreme metal bands were striving for their own unique sound, and Belial were no exception. Musically, they were closer to Impaled Nazarene's brand of raging black metal than they were to most their Finnish death metal contemporaries (Funebre, Abhorrence, Demigod, Convulse, etc.), and it really helped them stand apart from the tide of bands sweeping through Finland at the time
This compilation includes the band's widely spread 1991 demo The Gods of the Pit, their 1992 EP Wisdom of Darkness, a few live cuts, and even some rare rehearsals. The demo and EP are the ones that manage to draw the best and most prolific picture about them due to the great sound quality, due in no small part to the remaster job courtesy of the famous Tico-Tico studio in Kemi, Finland. The rehearsal recording also sounds exceptionally good and heavy, but most of the live stuff is made up of recordings from various audience members and therefore sound noticeably worse. The exception to this is the first live song, "The Invocation", which is clearly a soundboard recording that sounds a lot better than the other live tracks.
This compilation comes in a lavish package which includes a fully colored 24-page booklet filled with old articles/interviews/reviews, gigs flyers, band photos (both promo and live), and so much more. The band's ex-bassist, Jani Lehtosaari, has really taken his time to collect all this material together, so horns up to him for adding it to an already excellent release!
This compilation serves as an impressive preservation of the band and their place in Finnish metal history, and it even comes with the benefit of being a damn fine frenzy of black/death metal on top of it all. If you want to learn what made these guys so notable back in the day, this is the place to start.
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