In Gallows By Mass by Ba’al was a top quality EP, and I made those feelings clear when I reviewed it last year, but with this new single due to be reviewed all I could think before putting it on was “how the hell are they going to top Days Of Yore”?
Well it’s as if the band have replied in song to show me exactly how they will top it.
The first thing of note is the production, and while the band have never suffered from a poor production in the slightest, this time around it just feels much thicker and with a certain majesty that they have lacked in the past, but when you get Russ Russell behind the desk you can pretty much expect the best.
Musically the band once again channel a big Isis influence but do so in a way which has now become very much their own, very Ba’al. The clean vocals are handled in a more controlled manner and it is clear that vocalist Steffan Benham (now unfortunately departed from the band) has put much more focus into his clean delivery. Throughout the track there is a subtle synth or chant, and while very much buried it creates an overall tense and uncomfortable atmosphere that serves the song greatly.
After a delicate mid section and once again bursting back into the gargantuan main riff, the band lead into the final two minutes of music, which perfectly captures the tone of the song. The closing section is equal parts harrowing as it is inspiring, the guitars truly portraying a feeling of despair with the most mournful yet beautiful riffs, which in turn creates the most powerful minutes of Ba’al’s discography so far.
This is the same band but much more polished and precise, and now rather than just being a very good Isis or Cult of Luna clone, they are developing a sound that is their own. A full length from Ba’al is shaping up to be nothing short of incredible.