Balrog & Roll is the 2nd album from British Fantasy Black Metal trio Orcrypt. After becoming dormant in 2010, following the release of Mercenaries of Mordor, founding member Ugluk reactivated the band in 2018, recruiting new members Sammael on guitars, and J.R.R. Martin on vocals. Within the next year, this new line up recorded and released the demo Dice & Damnation, marking the move away from Tolkien and drone towards a new focus on riffs and fantasy role-playing games. But, even before the demo was released, Orcrypt were working on writing and recording what would become Balrog & Roll.
Balrog & Roll is scheduled for release via Death To Music Productions on October 31st 2020, both digitally and on limited CD.
This is an awesome release. With very little personal affection for or affiliation to Dungeons & Dragons, Orcrpyt manage to create a fantastical setting for the mind to set up shop in for 40-odd minutes.
Through the medium of black metal, the trio create an atmosphere while staying focused and true to the more classic sound of the darkness. The Beholder embodies that but it’s with Vermintide that Balrog & Roll really becomes a consuming inferno. Here, Orcrypt really begin to stretch their musical muscles with a guitar showcase that is on another level.
All while the percussion hammers away and the vocals drip in venomous destruction. It’s this side of things that makes Hexblade, Flight of the Dracolich and the killer I, Mindflayer such effective listens.
Even if you have no idea of what Dungeons & Dragons is, Orcrypt do a stellar job of conjuring up images of massive worlds filled with monstrous beings and magical moments. The slower and grimier Welcome to Barovia is a horror-laden effort that gets so chaotic in the latter half. Dice and Damnation is deliciously evil and fascinatingly catchy while Tombs of Horrors has all the mystery and revulsion of uncovering ancient crypts of the dead.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Balrog & Roll though is that for all its black metal quality, it is actually quite a fun listen. It might have something to do with the subject matter as black metal has a penchant for taking itself too seriously. On that note, the album comes to a close with Greenskins of Greyhawk.
The lovely little burst at the start leads to a really sinister sound that has a tortuous tempo and a ton of kick-ass riffs. It’s a classy finish and the cherry on top of a classy album.
Orcrypt – Balrog & Roll Full Track Listing:
1. Oubliette (Intro)
2. The Beholder
5. Flight of the Dracolich
6. I, Mindflayer
7. Welcome to Barovia
8. Dice and Damnation
9. Tomb of Horrors
10. Greenskins of Greyhawk
Orcrypt - Balrog & Roll (Death To Music Productions)
The Final Score - 9/10