Ba’al – Ellipsism

Rating: 2.5/5
Released: 2020
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Band line-up:

Joe Stamps – Vocals
Richard Spencer – Bass
Nick Gosling – Guitars
Luke Rutter – Drums


1. Long Live
2. An Orchestra of Flies
3. XIV – I – MMXIX
4. Jouska
6. Tarred and Feathered
7. Father, the Sea, the Moon
8. X – I – MCMXCII
9. Rosalia


Ba’al are a blackened post metal band from Sheffield and on Clobber Records, who will be releasing their full length debut album ‘Ellipsism’ on 30th October, 2020. Ellipsism is the sense of sadness one feels when thinking about his or her mortality and the disappointment that one will never see the future. It’s a perfect title for the album, as it’s not exactly happy listening. The group have performed at the Bloodstock festival and have played live shows with Downfall Of Gaia, Conan, Gnaw Their Tongues, and more. 

The band seem to be going for an epic black metal sound with their compositions that are often around 10 minutes long, but rather than them being hypnotic and fascinating, they’re mostly pretty dull with often primitive and predictable chord progressions and simple rhythms. There are highlights to look forward to such as clever bass lines the are independent of the guitar riffs, but they don’t do enough to save the music as they are relatively rare and don’t take much of a lead role. The way the musicians build up the tension is particularly bland in places. Sometimes the drums simply get faster, when in actuality, the music is dying for more inventive dissonances, releases and syncopation. However, some build ups are fairly decent.

There are an interesting range of tempos and dynamics in this music that often change at well judged moments without sounding rushed but without the catchy riffs that are longed for, that doesn’t save the music, either. Whilst some of the slower sections are fun to mosh to and are crushing with the whole band putting their all into the music, they are more features of the release that are sometimes too basic. Again, there are times when the slower themes aren’t so bad. Clearly this album is quite hit and miss and the listener never really knows what to expect. In this case, that’s a flaw. Ironically, some of the stronger parts of the album are the thoughtful ambient sections with little going on.

In conclusion, the band should be at least a little bit respected for their ambition, but rather than producing an epic masterpiece as I’m sure was intended, they’ve come up with a long string of cliches that are rarely of any interest. With a little rethinking and discarding of ineffective material, things could have been so much better. Furthermore, sometimes the development is a little too unpredictable and comes across as messy. The album does end on a genuinely exciting climax, but I’m sure many would never make it that far. This release isn’t too bad, but it’s not recommended. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann