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Sons Of Balaur album review – Tenebris Deos

Graphic novel-born black metallers prove a little bit sketchy

Sons Of Balaur album cover

Sons Of Balaur are a fictional black metal band from graphic novel Realm Of The Damned, willed into the same dimension-straddling existence as The Archies, Gorillaz and Dethklok.

There’s a cognitive dissonance at work, hearing a made-up group from the early 90s NorwegianBM ‘inner circle’ playing slick death’n’roll with lunk-headed fun-time stoner riffs, scampering gothic thrash like latterday Cradle Of Filth and vocals closer to angsty metalcore than the depraved intensity of Norway’s elite.

The Curse Of Bloodlust is a reasonable stab at time-worn BM tropes, but otherwise this seems strangely dispassionate, neither archly parodic nor much of an affectionate homage – a half-arsed halfway house between various extreme metallic styles of the past 20 years. Recorded after ‘15 years in the netherworld’, the result is best left to the imagination, where it sounds more exciting than this pedestrian mish-mash.

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.