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Review: Bal-Sagoth - The Power Cosmic
The Power Cosmic

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 1999
Duration: 41:15
Tracks: 8
Genre: Unclassifiable

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: October 27, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
The Power Cosmic

Rated 4.15/5 (83.08%) (26 Votes)

This is album number four from the great and awesome Bal-Sagoth, and their first with Nuclear Blast after their departure from Cacophonous – their label for the first three albums. If you already know this band, then you can just skip to the part where I tell you to go buy the album, as this is virtually the same as all their other CDs, with just a few variations.

"The Power Cosmic" is a bit more melodic and musically a bit stronger than the previous "Battle Magic". The keys are more upfront, but they are played better and with more memorable melodies than before, so that there are several songs you can readily tell apart, even after one listen. There are some really good examples of Bal-Sagoth's work on this album, like "The Empyreal Lexicon", "The Scourge Of The Fourth Celestial Host", and the extremely catchy "Callisto Rising" – which has to rank as one of my all-time favorite Bal-Sagoth songs. The other songs are not as good, and tend to kind of run together, but that happens with every album by this band. Lyrically, "The Power Cosmic" is a bit of a departure, as while the usual Bal-Sagoth taste for cheesy lyrics is indulged shamelessly, the focus has shifted from pulpy comic-book fantasy to pulpy comic-book sci-fi. The album spins tales of ancient galactic wars, lost artifacts of alien civilizations, cosmic demons, and other cool stuff like that. The one exception is "The Scourge Of The Fourth Celestial Host", which is written as a dialog between various Marvel Comics characters including the Silver Surfer and Uatu the Watcher. I swear I'm not kidding.

This is one of the more consistent Bal-Sagoth CDs, with real sweep and momentum, and several really awesome songs. The drumming is better and better-recorded, and the production overall is a bit sharper and heavier. Byron's vocals sound great, and his lyrical excesses have rarely been this good. His arcane mutterings of "I am annihilation incarnate" and "I was ancient when your ancestors were naught but protoplasmic slime!" are entertainment of the first order. So I have to recommend this album as one of Bal-Sagoth's better outings, but then their entire catalog is so consistent that standouts often amount to no more than personal favorites. So: every Bal-Sagoth album is a must-have – go buy this one you puling mortal worm, the Star Gods command it!

Other related information on the site
Review: A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Apocryphal Tales (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Atlantis Ascendant (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Battle Magic (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Battle Magic (reviewed by Ulysses)
Review: Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Chthonic Chronicles (reviewed by Jason Cominetto)
Review: The Chthonic Chronicles (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Chthonic Chronicles (reviewed by Ulysses)
Interview with Byron (Vocals) on April 6, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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