“BALFOR is a Ukrainian Black Metal band from Kyiv featuring Khors, Raventale and ex-Hate Forest members. The band plays a style that can be defined as Barbaric Black Metal, a name that only partly explains the kind of dark, dramatic music they play. Music that is an epic, melodic, and blastingly fast mixture of Black and Death Metal.”
And that’s what the bio that came with this promo tells us. Me? I’d never heard of BALFOR until then. But I can definitely say that the above description fits them, and their latest album Black Serpent Rising (out now, Drakkar Productions), well. This is Black Metal, yeah, but it’s meatier than some other releases I’ve listened to in recent years. There is this wall of sound that is really, really thick, and that is largely due to the band’s rhythm section. The duo of Khaoth (drums) and Athamas (bass) truly holds down the fort and allows guitarist Astaroth Merc and vocalist/guitarist Thorgeir to run all over the place and man the machine gun turrets.
One of the best things you’ll find on this record is “Unbounded Wrath of Venom”. The song is an asskicker, but in an unconventional way, if that makes sense. Opener “Serpents of the Black Sun” is an absolute riff-fest,and “Dawn of Savage” just hits hard from beginning to end. “Heralds of the Fall” has a very grandiose and epic feel to it, and the song is very heavy. Listening to “Among the Fallen Ones” there’s this feeling of having to get up and march somewhere, but of course none of us have to actually do that. The bass is especially prevalent on this track, and we also get some clean vocals!
“Wolfbreed” is one of my favorite tracks from this record. I just love the way everything comes together and I can only hope it’s one the band will play live. The overall bombast of this thing will punch you right in the chest and make sure you’re paying attention. The overall savagery of “A Vulture’s Spell” makes for another winning track for sure. Everything goes nuts on this one. Closing the disc is “Crimson Stronghold” where the band swings for the fences and does everything in their power to make sure you remember who the fuck they are..
All told, Black Serpent Rising is a great Black Metal album. It’s one of those records I can pop on any time of the day and rock the fuck out to while enjoying the sinister feel of the whole thing and praying for the death of all mankind. BALFOR is a killer band and I look forward to hearing more and more from them in the future. The album is out now, so I’m not quite sure what the fuck you’re waiting for….Go get it!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Wolfbreed”, “Unbounded Wrath of Venom”, “A Vulture’s Spell”, “Dawn of Savage”