Belzebubs - Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods review



Reviewer:
N/A

171 users:
8.50
Band: Belzebubs
Album: Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods
Release date: April 2019


01. Cathedrals Of Mourning
02. The Faustian Alchemist
03. Blackened Call
04. Acheron
05. Nam Gloria Lucifer
06. The Crowned Daughters [The Veil Of The Moon Queen Part 2]
07. Dark Mother [The Veil Of The Moon Queen Part 3]
08. The Werewolf Bride
09. Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods [The Veil Of The Moon Queen Part 4]
10. Nuns In The Purgatory [bonus]
11. Maleficarum  [The Veil Of The Moon Queen Part 1] [bonus]


Insomnium Belzebubs come from the frostbitten north, or rather from the virtual pages of J.P. Ahonen's comics. How well do they transition from ink to sound? I mean, from pixel to sound?

I was vaguely familiar with Belzebubs the comic. I saw some of the pages on social media and thought they were fun and quirky; I liked the humor and the drawing style, but I'm far from being a dedicated fan, so it felt a bit wrong jumping on the Belzebubs bandwagon right now, knowing full well how many credibility points I'd lose. The concept of a virtual band is nothing new, from Gorillaz to the much-closer-to-home Dethklok. And the thing about transitioning from one medium to another is that an idea can be fit for one medium, but not for another. Shocker. The satirical tongue-in-cheek humor of Dethklok was very obvious in their music as well, so it would make sense that there would be some quirky humor in Belzebubs music as well, right?

Yes and no; mostly no. There's a slight sense of quirkiness to it, but nothing too obvious or that couldn't make Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods an enjoyable album to someone who has absolutely no idea what the background and backstory of the band are. The album was quite clearly not rushed as a cash grab for the popularity of the comics and I'm really surprised how they managed to get me so excited for some symphonic-tinged meloblack/melodeath hybrid in 2019. Sure, I'm a massive Insomnium fan, so it was quite clear that I would be enjoying anything related to it. Even though their involvement hasn't been really described or even confirmed, you'd be more successful in convincing me that it's worth caring about symphonic metal in the current year than that those vocals aren't Niilo's. We don't know if any other Insomnium members are involved or if Niilo plays any other instrument on the record, but judging by how close the two bands' sounds are, it wouldn't be far-fetched.

So, in a way you could just consider this a new Insomnium record, because the two really really sound alike, which is not something I'd dare to complain about, although Belzebubs is clearly a more blackened version of their sound, with tinges of Dimmu Borgir and Emperor and Dissection. You'll even find guest vocals from ICS Vortex and from Lindsay Schoolcraft of Cradle Of Filth. And the music itself does warrant its hour of run time, as there's plenty of diversity in sound and great songwriting dynamics. And even though the production is amazing, courtesy of Dan Swanö, it is the songwriting here that really sells this as more than just a cash grab.

There rarely is a dull moment and there really isn't any need for trimming or for adding extra filler; it seems like they completely hit the run time the album is supposed to have. The guitar work is great and fun to listen to, obviously much more melodic and progressive than the usual meat-and-potatoes black metal, but even more than most bands of its sound. The solos don't feel invasive and like they're there just to be there. The symphonic touches do their job of adding atmosphere without feeling generic or overpowering. And each of these layers interact really well with one another, so much so that I'm a bit angry at myself for not finding any flaw and sounding like a fanboy.

Well, maybe I would've liked the music to sound a bit more... black? There are a few songs that really wouldn't feel out of place on an Insomnium record. And it's not necessarily just because of the vocals. So while the music is absolutely amazing, there's too little in it to tell me that this comes from a comic that parodies black metal. This could've been anything else other than a Belzebubs album and it would've worked. And I don't think that that's really a strength. Maybe I'm just too kvlt for the "trve kvlt mockumentary" and I've listened to so much dissonant and raw stuff that I'm out of touch with the melodic, keyboard-heavy side of black metal, but I feel like black metal should have been one of the main ingredients of the album, instead of just a sprinkled flavor. Context is key.


 



Written on 09.05.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 20   Visited by: 223 users
09.05.2019 - 11:41
X-FrEaK
I'm still unsure of what the rating of this album would be for me. I am an Insonmnium fan as well, but like almost every other melo death band (except maybe Dark Tranquillity), with the years I kinda grew tired of the sound, so new releases from Insomnium, Amon Amarth (Berserker is not bad compared to their last 2 or 3), Arch Enemy, etc. always leave me with a "have heard this before" feeling. And this record has SO MUCH Insomnium written all over it but with some other added quirks. that I'm still processing.

It's a good album no doubt, just trying to understand if just good or amazing. I am certain though, had I listened to this 10 years ago, it would be one of my favorite metal albums ever,
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09.05.2019 - 11:50
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by X-FrEaK on 09.05.2019 at 11:41

I'm still unsure of what the rating of this album would be for me. I am an Insonmnium fan as well, but like almost every other melo death band (except maybe Dark Tranquillity), with the years I kinda grew tired of the sound, so new releases from Insomnium, Amon Amarth (Berserker is not bad compared to their last 2 or 3), Arch Enemy, etc. always leave me with a "have heard this before" feeling. And this record has SO MUCH Insomnium written all over it but with some other added quirks. that I'm still processing.

It's a good album no doubt, just trying to understand if just good or amazing. I am certain though, had I listened to this 10 years ago, it would be one of my favorite metal albums ever,

I've grown a bit tired of the melodeath sound as well, especially of bands like Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth and newer Omnium Gatherum, but it seems that Insomnium is still one of those band I have yet to feel like "it's just more of the same". I actually like this album a bit more than a few Insomnium records so it's a big plus for me. A big minus would be that I can't help but compare it to Insomnium instead of something else.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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09.05.2019 - 15:29
OpethFlames
For being a silly cartoon comic band they really put something great together here. You can tell they took their their time in the songwriting and with the guest vocalist's coming in. I'm glad I gave it a chance because I was just going to pass by this thinking it is just a joke. Just try to distinguish it from a joke cartoon band and think of it as Niilo's side project because that has to be him at least on vocals.
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09.05.2019 - 19:36
matt4815162342
Written by RaduP on 09.05.2019 at 11:50

Written by X-FrEaK on 09.05.2019 at 11:41

I'm still unsure of what the rating of this album would be for me. I am an Insonmnium fan as well, but like almost every other melo death band (except maybe Dark Tranquillity), with the years I kinda grew tired of the sound, so new releases from Insomnium, Amon Amarth (Berserker is not bad compared to their last 2 or 3), Arch Enemy, etc. always leave me with a "have heard this before" feeling. And this record has SO MUCH Insomnium written all over it but with some other added quirks. that I'm still processing.

It's a good album no doubt, just trying to understand if just good or amazing. I am certain though, had I listened to this 10 years ago, it would be one of my favorite metal albums ever,

I've grown a bit tired of the melodeath sound as well, especially of bands like Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth and newer Omnium Gatherum, but it seems that Insomnium is still one of those band I have yet to feel like "it's just more of the same". I actually like this album a bit more than a few Insomnium records so it's a big plus for me. A big minus would be that I can't help but compare it to Insomnium instead of something else.


It seems that this tiredness of modern melodeath sound is an epidemy, going around for some time now. I feel the same about the majority of melodeath bands, with the exception of Dark Tranquillity, Wolfheart and Insomnium. In case of Insomnium, I actually liked the approach they took on Winter's Gate a lot more than some of their previous efforts, having incorporated some slight blackish elements even then. And I feel like Pantheon Of The Nightside Gods is the natural continuation of that approach, but maybe the band was afraid to publish it under its own name in order not to lose some of their fans for flirting with another subgenre. Or maybe they just don't care, everyone will figure out it's them* eventually, even if they don't announce it publicly.

* I took a little bit of risk here with assuming the whole band is behind this project. But hey, it really sounds like Winter's Gate. I am quite certain that if not all, then at least the majority of Insomnium members are behind Belzebubs as well.
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09.05.2019 - 21:24
Kuroboshi
Written by matt4815162342 on 09.05.2019 at 19:36


* I took a little bit of risk here with assuming the whole band is behind this project. But hey, it really sounds like Winter's Gate. I am quite certain that if not all, then at least the majority of Insomnium members are behind Belzebubs as well.

At least the vocalist and guitarist in any case.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed the review! It was long, but it was warranted and I liked the long introduction to the band.

I've also grown tired of a lot of the melodeath out there. I notice it in that, extremely few of the melodeath albums I listen to end up staying in rotation. Still, many of the good ol' bands are still fantastic to listen to, and when melodeath is done right, I find it to be one of the most enjoyable types of music there is. For me, melodeath done right are albums like Colony, Portal of I, Stone's Reach, Character, Versus the World, Schlacht, Holographic Universe, etc... (You fail as a melodeather if you don't know the bands )

*Edit: Forgot to say that with the few spins of this record I have so far I cannot yet give it a fair review, but I'm inclined to say that I don't find it amazing. Great, but probably won't be a staple for me... :/
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09.05.2019 - 22:27
matt4815162342
Written by Kuroboshi on 09.05.2019 at 21:24

For me, melodeath done right are albums like Colony, Portal of I, Stone's Reach, Character, Versus the World, Schlacht, Holographic Universe, etc... (You fail as a melodeather if you don't know the bands )

Seems I have failed then. Didn't recognize Schlacht
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09.05.2019 - 22:55
WorpeX
Written by matt4815162342 on 09.05.2019 at 22:27

Written by Kuroboshi on 09.05.2019 at 21:24

For me, melodeath done right are albums like Colony, Portal of I, Stone's Reach, Character, Versus the World, Schlacht, Holographic Universe, etc... (You fail as a melodeather if you don't know the bands )

Seems I have failed then. Didn't recognize Schlacht


I don't recognize that or Holographic Universe... isn't that an Epica Album? that aint no melodeath!
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09.05.2019 - 23:11
matt4815162342
Written by WorpeX on 09.05.2019 at 22:55

I don't recognize that or Holographic Universe... isn't that an Epica Album? that aint no melodeath!

That's Scar Symmetry, the last album with Christian Älvestam behind the mic.
Epica's album is called The Holographic Principle
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09.05.2019 - 23:42
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by Kuroboshi on 09.05.2019 at 21:24

Still, many of the good ol' bands are still fantastic to listen to, and when melodeath is done right, I find it to be one of the most enjoyable types of music there is.

These words really strike a chord with me, thanks!

Written by Kuroboshi on 09.05.2019 at 21:24

For me, melodeath done right are albums like Colony, Portal of I, Stone's Reach, Character, Versus the World, Schlacht, Holographic Universe, etc... (You fail as a melodeather if you don't know the bands )

Stone's Reach, Character and Versus the World: signed
Colony: not sure, never really liked it and would prefer The Jester Race to Colony any day.
Unfortunately, the excessively hysterical vocals of Avatar and the clean vocals of Scar Symmetry are clear exclusion criteria for my part. Would add Ancient God Of Evil and The Fourth Dimension instead and probably some others.
Anyway, just a matter of taste and not that important...
But what I'd really like to know, are you quite sure regarding Ne Obliviscaris' Portal Of I and Melodeath?

Sorry for drifting off topic, but Melodeath seems to be quite a taboo subject nowadays.
Different day, different place and people hearing the term "melodic" will throw addled eggs, rotten tomatoes and sauerkraut at you.
Talking about vegetable and stuff, is it still save to buy melons at the market?
I mean, the marketer could be a fan of dissonant blackened sludge drone and rip your face to pieces before you're even finished saying "I love melo...".

@Radu: great review, really enjoyed it. Can't say any more at this time as I'm still waiting for the damn CD. Ordered it last week but these bastards don't deliver.
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10.05.2019 - 00:14
WorpeX
Written by matt4815162342 on 09.05.2019 at 23:11

Written by WorpeX on 09.05.2019 at 22:55

I don't recognize that or Holographic Universe... isn't that an Epica Album? that aint no melodeath!

That's Scar Symmetry, the last album with Christian Älvestam behind the mic.
Epica's album is called The Holographic Principle


haha, thanks. I was definitely joking about the Epica part but I didn't realize it was Scar Symmetry. Never really listened to that band and didn't realize they were an essential Melodeath band. Avatar (the Schlacht album) is for sure not.

Anyway, back on topic. This Belzebubs album is awesome. I love Insomnium but I couldn't get into the Winters Gate album... was just too much of one song for me. I love that this Belzebubs album feels different enough that it is its own project though. Blackened Call and Cathedrals of Mourning are kick-ass tracks. My only complaint really is the album starts to get a little boring towards the end and I end up just starting back over again for the faster stuff.
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10.05.2019 - 09:39
matt4815162342
Written by Starvynth on 09.05.2019 at 23:42

Can't say any more at this time as I'm still waiting for the damn CD. Ordered it last week but these bastards don't deliver.

Got my copy yesterday. And it was travelling to me through Germany, so don't despair, you should get yours anytime now.
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10.05.2019 - 18:52
Fabiano Bettega
Written by matt4815162342 on 10.05.2019 at 09:39

Written by Starvynth on 09.05.2019 at 23:42

Can't say any more at this time as I'm still waiting for the damn CD. Ordered it last week but these bastards don't deliver.

Got my copy yesterday. And it was travelling to me through Germany, so don't despair, you should get yours anytime now.

I am still waiting too, and I live in Italy, so it should get home very soon...

However, a perfect album IMO, I am enjoying it so much!
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13.05.2019 - 15:04
X-FrEaK
Written by Starvynth on 09.05.2019 at 23:42

Written by Kuroboshi on 09.05.2019 at 21:24

Still, many of the good ol' bands are still fantastic to listen to, and when melodeath is done right, I find it to be one of the most enjoyable types of music there is.

These words really strike a chord with me, thanks!

Written by Kuroboshi on 09.05.2019 at 21:24

For me, melodeath done right are albums like Colony, Portal of I, Stone's Reach, Character, Versus the World, Schlacht, Holographic Universe, etc... (You fail as a melodeather if you don't know the bands )

Stone's Reach, Character and Versus the World: signed
Colony: not sure, never really liked it and would prefer The Jester Race to Colony any day.
Unfortunately, the excessively hysterical vocals of Avatar and the clean vocals of Scar Symmetry are clear exclusion criteria for my part. Would add Ancient God Of Evil and The Fourth Dimension instead and probably some others.
Anyway, just a matter of taste and not that important...
But what I'd really like to know, are you quite sure regarding Ne Obliviscaris' Portal Of I and Melodeath?


Ne Oblivicaris is not melodeath. Portal of I is one of my favorite albums ever though (the only tatoo I have is the Ne Obliviscaris logo ). Really nice list guys, Stone's Reach and Character are master pieces. I would add Crimson I & II as well, Slaughter of the Soul, Heartwork, Twilight of the Thunder God, Above the Weeping World, Monolith
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13.05.2019 - 15:46
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by X-FrEaK on 13.05.2019 at 15:05

Written by Starvynth on 09.05.2019 at 23:42

Stone's Reach, Character and Versus the World: signed
Colony: not sure, never really liked it and would prefer The Jester Race to Colony any day.
Unfortunately, the excessively hysterical vocals of Avatar and the clean vocals of Scar Symmetry are clear exclusion criteria for my part. Would add Ancient God Of Evil and The Fourth Dimension instead and probably some others.
Anyway, just a matter of taste and not that important...
But what I'd really like to know, are you quite sure regarding Ne Obliviscaris' Portal Of I and Melodeath?


Ne Oblivicaris is not melodeath. Portal of I is one of my favorite albums ever though (the only tatoo I have is the Ne Obliviscaris logo ). Really nice list guys, Stone's Reach and Character are master pieces. I would add Crimson I & II as well, Slaughter of the Soul, Heartwork, Twilight of the Thunder God, Above the Weeping World, Monolith and Anthems of Rebellion (it was the first one I remember listening to)

"Ne Oblivicaris is not melodeath."
But Crimson I & II are no Melodeath, either.
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13.05.2019 - 17:44
X-FrEaK
Written by Starvynth on 13.05.2019 at 15:46


"Ne Oblivicaris is not melodeath."
But Crimson I & II are no Melodeath, either.


Melodeath with a progressive touch, or progressive death with a melodeath touch xD
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15.05.2019 - 09:25
Fallen Ghost
Craft Beer Geek
Massive hype alert! Insomnium have been mentioned so often in this review that I just gotta listen to this.

Edit: Yeah, this have to be Niilo from Insomnium, holy shit this is pretty cool !
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18.05.2019 - 12:17
Tanuk the Monk
I agree with the review on the fact that it is actually difficult to find some flaws is this album. Many passages have reminded of good ol' Dimmu Borgir stuff
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20.05.2019 - 19:28
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by matt4815162342 on 10.05.2019 at 09:39

Written by Starvynth on 09.05.2019 at 23:42

Can't say any more at this time as I'm still waiting for the damn CD. Ordered it last week but these bastards don't deliver.

Got my copy yesterday. And it was travelling to me through Germany, so don't despair, you should get yours anytime now.

Written by Fabiano Bettega on 10.05.2019 at 18:52

I am still waiting too, and I live in Italy, so it should get home very soon...

Thanks for the mental support!
Finally received my copy on Saturday, so that's three weeks after my order.
The weird thing is, from my place it's just 90 km to Century Media's main warehouse...
I'm wondering, are they tired already of selling CD's?

Quote:
And each of these layers interact really well with one another, so much so that I'm a bit angry at myself for not finding any flaw and sounding like a fanboy.
Well, maybe I would've liked the music to sound a bit more... black? [...]
So while the music is absolutely amazing, there's too little in it to tell me that this comes from a comic that parodies black metal. This could've been anything else other than a Belzebubs album and it would've worked. And I don't think that that's really a strength.
[...] but I feel like black metal should have been one of the main ingredients of the album, instead of just a sprinkled flavor.

^ This. All of it.

But I believe that's the crux of parody music. You can either pick the most prominent aspects and stereotypes of a particular genre and camp it all up in order to pull someone's leg or you can try to sound professional and deliver something that people will actually enjoy.
Belzebubs are caught between two chairs: the involved musicians are part of the scene so they can neither pull their own legs nor can they be too serious and kvlt as this would lead the entire concept and idea of a spoof ad absurdum.
And damn it, the whole thing is by all means carried out professionally.

From a musical point of view, I'm a bit disappointed, though.
I do believe it is almost flawless, but after all, "Blackened Call" is most probably the best song of the album - and by now, that's an 11 months old single...
Above that, there's a massive decline of quality regarding the last couple of songs. The second half of the track "Pantheon of the Nightside Gods" is nothing but spherical keyboards and "Nuns in the Purgatory" and "Maleficarum" are instrumentals. In total, that's 12 minutes of, well, nothingness...

Ahh, f#ck it! Nevertheless, I'm a fanboy fanbub now...
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20.05.2019 - 20:40
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Starvynth on 20.05.2019 at 19:28

"Nuns in the Purgatory" and "Maleficarum" are instrumentals.

Those are bonus tracks.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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20.05.2019 - 20:44
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by RaduP on 20.05.2019 at 20:40

Written by Starvynth on 20.05.2019 at 19:28

"Nuns in the Purgatory" and "Maleficarum" are instrumentals.

Those are bonus tracks.

I know, but the mediabook is still the only CD-only version you can purchase and both songs are a part of it.
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