One of the first wave to really assault us with the rawness of black metal, once the heavy metal pretty boys stepped aside. Important because this band contributes/shares members with Sentenced, Impaled Nazarene and Mythos.
flag of Finland Belial - Wisdom of Darkness (1992)
Belial - Gods of the Pit Pt II (Paragon So Below) (1993)
Wisdom of Darkness
Production: Black metal trademark terrible, but not much of an intervention.

Review: In their impulse to slam together raw melody in otherwise dreadnought simple chromatic riffs, Belial saw a future for black metal in the complexity hidden within detail that defined the whole.

Similarly in this album the harmonizations which apply a melodic sense to an otherwise straight chord progression take on a great importance for their structural influence on the counterthematic riff which defines the chorus opposite the verse, as well as the overall theme of the song, usually following the three or four even intervals that define the chord progression itself. Lead guitars are strings themselves bent into a form of disparaging violence.


1. Intro
2. The invocation
3. Of Servant of Belial
4. Lost souls
5. Rise of Hecate
6. Hypocrisy of the god's sons
7. Voices beyond
Length: 20:28

Belial - Wisdom of Darkness - Death Metal/Black Metal 1992 Lethal
Copyright © 1992 Lethal

Muffled and subsonic, the barge of basslike vocals pushes a heavy wall of guitar and bass guitar against simple but effective heavy metal style drumming. Instrumentalism is competent, and although the music isn't complex, it requires a certain amount of talent to make something this basic take on as much fearful context as it does here.

Where these songs excel is in their maintenance of mood, usually through melody, and through doing that Belial have created a massive and foreboding album of darkness in motion.

Production: Darkly muffling every instrument the background of negative space sound loss created by garage level demo-tape production clots the sound with grasping obscurity and makes a powerful sound of rudimentary brutality.

Review: These four songs are simple but effective in that they seek to communicate an elemental hatred and darkness, a destruction and vengeful wrath upon the world. Brutality comes from the repetitive but effectively heavy rhythms but is directed in a large part by the croaking ultra-bass gutteral amplified abuse of the vocal track, menacing in its clenched obscurity.

Riffs are composed from very simple scalar elements of power chords and played with recurrent rising rhythms terminated in some definitive stroke of chord or snare. Double bass continues underneath the rolling riffs, locking the band into patterns from which it produces a consistent sound through permutations, sounding very much like a death metal band if it weren't for the looseness of strumming rhythms and the simplistic architecture. But it almost reminds me of Cathedral how these songs seem to ride a groove and then drop it and then begin again, or of one of the doomier grindcore bands that use similarly finite terminations on their phrases.


1. The Invocation
2. Voices Beyond
3. Deceased
4. For Them
5. Piece by Piece (Remix)
Length: 13:04

Belial - Gods of the Pit Pt II (Paragon So Below) - Death Metal/Black Metal 1993 Moribund
Copyright © 1993 Moribund

Nothing will stand out, especially not musicianship or the few subtle variations, but this stands as a band in the Hellhammer-esque style of black metal that made a new rhythmic experience out of the juncture between that band and Sodom, who played with similar styles of internal rhythm to riffs with equal simplicity. Brief melodies are woven into some moments of the music and these are beautiful and rare, making the whole seem almost planned. Overall unexciting unexceptional but often sort of cool as the simple hypnotic destruction it is.

BLACK   |   DEATH   |   HEAVY   |   SPEED   |   THRASH   |   GRINDCORE