Wizardthrone
Hypercube Necrodimensions

I’ve interviewed Alestorm twice over the years, both at this very site. And in both interviews, legendary Brit fantasy metal act Bal-Sagoth comes up as a huge influence on Alestorm’s Chris Bowes. Now, he developed that influence a little bit in his power metal outfit Gloryhammer, but I’ve been waiting for him to truly flesh out his love for Bal Sagoth, and apparently, he has finally fulfilled his dream, with ‘extreme wizard metal’ supergroup Wizardthrone.

Joined by fellow wizards from Aether Realm (vocalist/bassist Vincent Jones), Gloryhammer (Guitarist Micheal Barber), Forlorn Citadel (guitarist Matthew Bell) and Vale of Pnath/Nekrogoblikon (drummer Eric Brown), all with appropriately wizardly alias’s like ‘Keeper of the 17th Enochian Gate’ and’ Disciple of the 2-Planar Homerian Adjunct”.

Naturally, such a gathering injects an array of influences to the mix, so what you end up with is a celestial, multiversal vortex, mixing Bal Sagoth‘s The Power Cosmic (in particular you can hear “The Voyagers Beneath the Mare Imbrium” and “The Scourge of the Fourth Celestial Host” here) and a little of all the other band members other projects. It’s a bit more modern, shreddy/techy black/death, maybe like many The Artisan Era bands, but has a heavy dose of super epic power metal guitars and keyboards (where the largest component of Bal Sagoth Worship resides) and cosmic cheese. And it’s expectedly glorious.

Replete with oodles of over the top Lord Byron styled deep narrative vocals (and wordy song titles), the material, like Gloryhammer, is conceptual, but rather than zombie unicorns invading the land of Fife, this is based on hyperspacial realities, Epithemean celestial wizardry, multiverse black holes, tesseractual gateways, as only Chris Bowes can deliver.

The whole album is fantastic, but certainly, as a HUGE Bal Sagoth fan,  songs where that direct influence is a little heaver stand out for me. Though littering the whole album, especially with the above-mentioned vocals, it’s more unmistakable and obvious in the likes of “Incantation of the Red Order” and “Forbidden Equations Deep Within the Epimethean Wasteland” (which comes close to an actual Bal-Sagoth cover song at times). But even the less Bal Sagoth songs like “Frozen Winds of Thyraxia”, ” Of Tesseractual Gateways and the Grand Duplicity of Xhul” or the blistering title track, are fun, keyboard-laden romps.

A couple of tracks,  “The Coalescence of Nine Stars in the System Once Known as Markarian-23” and the sprawling, 13 plus minute, story ending closer “Beyond the Wizardthrone (Cryptopharmalogical Revelations of the Riemann Zeta Function)” use some gang chant/vocals that done quite fit in with the rest of the albums hyper epic extremity, more befitting an Alestorm/Gloryhammer song, and Bowes’ cheeky songwriting can be heard here and there, not just in the keyboards.

Kull, with actual Bal Sagoth members, might be the legitimate heir to the Bal Sagoth throne, but Wizardthrone has released a really fun, pseudo, homage album, and should they certainly be considered the musical, illegitimate, bastard love child, who at least has Bal Sagoth‘s eyes.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 13th, 2021

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