Halloween is somewhat the Christmas for the lovers of all things weird and wonderful, so it only seems apt that Orcrypt brings us their new album Balrog & Roll at this time of the year. If this is your first exposure to this epic black metal band from the UK, much like it was mine, then you will not be disappointed. With lyrics inspired by fantasy greats such as the stories of Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons, Orcrypt really bring forth the best parts of the black metal genre with classic and power metal undertones.
Right from the start of Balrog & Roll, you are transported to what feels like the world of Orcrypt. A world of bards, adventures, heavy guitars and hellish vocals. From the minute the first full track Beholder kicks in, you will have your hands in the air saying “epic!”. Slowly dragging you into crypts, the track kicks up with some face-melting guitar and speedy drumming, to really get you headbanging. Once you feel like you are comfortable, the tone changes and you are brought back to that black metal groove that Orcrypt has not just capture, but has mastered…and that is just in the first five minutes of the album!
Balrog & Roll is a journey of an album, but one of the epic and brutal proportions. I strongly suggest listening to the entire album from start to finish, enjoying each track in the correct order to really get transported into the music. While the whole album is solid overall, tracks Hexblade and Tomb of Horrors, really stood out to me. The driving riffs really won me over and had me headbanging at my desk, wishing I had a beer in hand at a live show. Really captures the essence of 90’s black metal and with musicians that are not just skilled at their instruments. Orcrypt with this album has really shown how you can keep something epic and brutal, but also just write quality songs.
Release Year: 2020
Label: Death To Music Productions
Reviewed by Kayla Hamilton