Review Summary: The Crowned Future
Blackened melodeath band Belzebubs
have built quite a name for themselves in the past few years. It's not hard to see why; currently, they're one of the greatest up-and-coming metal acts today, and their debut album Pantheon of the Nightside Gods
is an absolutely stellar performance that perhaps cements them as future legends in metal.
Lead vocalist and bassist Hubbath's vocal performances are absolutely top-notch; in particular, his vocals on opener "Cathedrals of Mourning" and lead single "Blackened Call" are some of the greatest vocal takes in recent memory of the genre. His range is especially impressive; he's capable of both high-pitched screaming and very
deep death-growling, somewhat comparable to vocalists like Trevor Strnad and even non-melodeath vocalists such as Randy Blythe and Her Name In Blood lead vocalist Ikepy; sometimes he unleashes surprises, such as sung vocals
on tracks like "The Crowned Daughters", which prove to be genuinely interesting experiments rather than any sign of something such as artist disillusionment. Guitarist and backing vocalist Sloth brings out a very nice compliment to Hubbath's vocals both instrumentally and vocally, and there is a very notable progressive influence in his playing. Hubbath's bass playing is probably the most generic of the instruments, although it isn't saying much as generally everything here has the aforementioned progressive influence; this brings us to drummer Samael, who's fast-paced style adds that nice finishing touch to the instrumental performances. Lyrically, the album touches upon standard black metal topics such as death, spiritual happenings and religion, though this absolutely is not a detriment because they just pull it off so
The stars descending
Such frail magic
As blackness veils thy eyes
The queen shall rise now
The wait is over
She’ll be reborn again to rule
This stranded earth
-"The Crowned Daughter"
The production work only adds to the album's greatness; the mixing job in particular is absolutely wonderful
and manages to allow all the instruments to breathe and be heard, which only lets the band showcase their talent even more; the audible bass in particular was a pleasant surprise, as melodeath tends to have bass very low in the mix for reasons never quite explained. If there's anything negative to be seen here, its that Belzebubs have a bit more potential that they can tap into; but other than that, Pantheon of the Nightside Gods
is a brilliant debut album that will no doubt put a lot of eyes on Belzebubs, because there is absolutely nothing but great things stored in the future for them.