Ellipsism is the sense of sadness and melancholy that accompanies intimations of one’s own mortality, the quiet heartbreak that comes with the realisation of all the futures you will never see. It’s also the perfect title for the full length debut album from Sheffield blackened post metal sorcerers of sorrow, Ba’al.
Having forged their sound in the fires of a Bloodstock festival appearance, live shows with Downfall Of Gaia, Conan, Gnaw Their Tongues, Fen and more, two EPs and the towering Thy Sorrow single, recorded at Russ Russell’s Parlour Studios (At The Gates, Dimmu Borgir, Napalm Death etc) the time has come for Ellipsism.
Ellipsism was recorded in March of this cursed year with Joe Clayton (Pijn, Wren, Leeched etc) and will be released by the rapidly rising champions of the extreme, the individual and the creative, Clobber Records, on October 30th 2020.
The burst of blinding darkness that comes from Ba’al’s Ellipsism is as powerful and soul-searching as any fan of melancholic post-black metal could hope for. An immediate gut punch of sorrowful and affecting guitar melodies, powerful percussion and scathing vocals is present and clear on the deeply detailed LONG LIVE. A monumental start that already leaves the mind in a tender place.
There’s no comfort to be found on the following AN ORCHESTRA OF FLIES where the troubling doomy start evolves into something that truly draws from the well of black metal. The frantic guitar/drum rawness leaving scars and the shifts back into the slower and heftier style adding unending pressure.
The first of three intermissions, palette cleansers so to speak, is up next. A short piece of melody called XIV – I – MMXIX that transitions smoothly into JOUSKA which finds itself bookended by the former and the following eerie III – II – MMIII. A smart decision by Ba’al as it’s one of the most powerful and eclipsing efforts of the album. Simply trying to keep up with the intrepid musical chops of this band is exhausting.
With the squeal of feedback, TARRED AND FEATHERED continues to keep things perfectly balanced between furious blackened metal and impressively sombre elements. It’s not that it’s depressing music to hear but the bleakness within is laid bare and lays heavily in the gut.
Adding more weight, FATHER, THE SEA, THE MOON begins in subtle fashion with distance and the feeling of light filling the soul. It’s actually a really pretty sounding start and while it naturally begins to transform with quite a crash, it never becomes ugly. Even as the light peters out and the gloom begins to roll over, it still has Ba’al’s wonderful instrumentation to lift things up. Here, they truly push themselves and excel with one of the richest post black offerings they have. Maybe even ever, such is the quality of this track.
One final intermission with the haunting X – I – MCMXCII, a short track that is dripping in atmosphere before Ba’al’s stunning debut comes to a close with ROSALIA. One final gigantic effort that could test the limits of what many can put up with but most will actually be sad to see things end. Especially when Ba’al are releasing such moving efforts as this. The emotional outpouring that takes place over the first 4 minutes might be in stark contrast to the enormity of the blackened horde that follows but combined it ensures Ellipsism will go down as one of 2020’s best releases.
In fact, there’s little doubt that this a real contender for the best of 2020. Anyone that knew Ba’al beforehand were aware that they’re a special band. This, their debut full-length, just confirms that to the masses.
Ba’al – Ellipsism Full Track Listing:
1. LONG LIVE
2. AN ORCHESTRA OF FLIES
3. XIV – I – MMXIX
5. III – II – MMIII
6. TARRED AND FEATHERED
7. FATHER, THE SEA, THE MOON
8. X – I – MCMXCII
Ba'al - Ellipsism (Clobber Records)
The Final Score - 10/10