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Kiss the Goat (1995)

Lord Belial's debut album, Kiss the Goat, is another example of what happens when musicians attempt to follow that which has become popular and trendy. Released by No Fashion Records, in May 1995, this L.P. is yet another example of a band that has very little idea regarding the true essence of Black Metal. The songwriting is inconsistent, the delivery is halfhearted and one gets the overwhelming sense that these guys were nothing more than fans that got an opportunity to record an album, with hardly any real artistic vision.

My first encounter with Lord Belial was their sophomore effort, Enter the Moonlight Gate. I had heard it described as pure Black Metal (which turned out to be a blatant lie), so I figured I would give it a shot. What a mistake. Bad songwriting, cheesy clean vocals, flutes and cellos, and an irritating female voice all came together to ruin my night, all those years ago. Other than a riff, here or there, it was a total waste. It was no secret that a lot of bands went astray after their first album or so, thus I gave Lord Belial one more chance, some time later. Again, I paid the price for my mistake.

Kiss the Goat is hardly a Black Metal album, at all. Despite what the band chooses to call the noise pollution that they pass off as music, this possesses much more of a Death Metal mentality, from the riffs and song structures to the overall approach. The fact that the vocalist utilizes a high-pitched, raspy style does nothing to change what this is, at its core. The music is rather diverse, from track to track, with a lot of slower sections that may have been intended to darken the mood a bit. Lord Belial failed in this endeavour, as well as whatever goal they had in mind when including a flute in nearly every song. Even as Death Metal, this album is a loss, as it is unable to create any real sense of atmosphere, either way. There is nothing dark, evil or aggressive about this. The vocals are the most positive aspect, but they wear thin before making it through a single listen. The playing is not the best, though the below-average musicianship is not really a problem, as the real issue is the lack of substance or creativity. It is clear that the band looked to what was going on throughout the underground scene and managed to take bits and pieces from all of their favourites, with minimal understanding. The least awful songs on here are "Hymn of the Ancient Misanthropic Spirit of the Forest" and "Lilith - Demonic Queen of the Black Light", though that is not saying much since they are also compromised by a variety of flaws.

The production is rather horrible, but suits the songwriting well enough. As with most other Death Metal albums of the time, the low-end is quite audible, which makes this more annoying for those that are listening in order to focus on the guitar riffs. The bass is too prominent, and the guitar tone is kind of thick and muddy. Between the two of these, Lord Belial lost any chance of creating a cold feeling, though the actual Black Metal riffs are few and far in-between, anyway. As for the flute, at least it is kind of buried, rather than overpowering the guitars.

Though one or two songs might not be completely grating to the ears, Kiss the Goat is a record that is better left forgotten or avoided. Lord Belial never was anything more than a bottom-feeder band that served no purpose, whatsoever. Just like so many others that hopped on the Black Metal bandwagon, without knowing anything about it, these guys should never have been allowed to record an album. Do not purchase this; you are better off just stabbing your ears with an ice pick. You have been warned.
(30 Mar. 2012)

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