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Sons Of Balaur - "Tenebris Deos" (CD)

Sons Of Balaur - "Tenebris Deos" CD cover image

"Tenebris Deos" track listing:

1. Invocation
2. Prologue
3. Old Relics
4. Succubus Slut
5. The Curse Of Bloodlust
6. The Nameless Roams The Earth
7. Van Helsing Must Die
8. Balaur’s Rise
9. Athena Bitch Betrayer
10. Soldiers Of Darkness
11. Nemetari The Desert Queen

Reviewed by on November 15, 2016

"Overall, 'Tenebris Deos' is a shot in the arm for the black metal scene; not taking itself too seriously, but still doing classic Norwegian black metal right."

Revolving around the accompanying graphic novel series and animated movie “Realm Of The Damned,” Sons Of Balaur is both a pure quintessential Norwegian metal band and an over-the-top tribute (maybe even slight parody?) of the style. Whether this is actually a tongue-in-cheek homage or meant to be taken completely seriously, the end result is the same: this is some quality black metal.

Essentially what you get with “Tenebris Deos” is a collection of either fast or mid-paced black metal tracks of the classic style (complete with theatric voiceovers and plenty of blast beating), but presented with a more modern production. What sets Sons Of Balaur apart is the presence of many other sub-genre influences.

The opening to “Succubus Slut” for instance is entirely classic true metal with a thrash twist, while the vocals stay more in the black metal realm offering up amusingly cheesy lyrics about the “foul whores of the night” who have “pussies like ice.” This track in particular brings to mind the silliness from fellow Norwegian outfit Ancient back in days of yore before that group's recent reformation. I hesitate to make the comparison so I don't give off the wrong idea about the sound, but its maybe not too far off to say Sons Of Balaur might be black metal's answer to Steel Panther.

For more changes in formula, “Curse Of Bloodlust” has an unexpected instrumental melodic outro, while atmospheric acoustic strumming propels “The Nameless Roams Beneath The Earth” above the surrounding songs. "Balaur's Rise” also has a slower marching beat for a nice change in tempo. The only thing dragging the album down is an over reliance on the standard black metal blast beating / tremolo picking, which pops up quite often and starts to get a little over played by ninth track “Athena Bitch Betrayer.”

Overall, “Tenebris Deos” is a shot in the arm for the black metal scene; not taking itself too seriously, but still doing classic Norwegian black metal right. If you prefer cleaner and less kvlt production, Sons Of Balaur is exactly what you're looking for.

Highs: Classic black metal with modern production and lots of influences from other sub-genres

Lows: The relentless blast beating gets old, and not everyone is going to appreciate some of the silliness on display

Bottom line: Classic black metal, modern production, and just the right dose of silly cheese

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)