As of late, I’ve been feeling quite disheartened about the creative emptiness of much black metal. For sure, there are plenty of worthwhile, ambitious releases out there (as well as those which aim to stick to their chosen style, and absolutely nail it); but finding them amidst a sea of generic corpsepainted, tremolo-picking, Satan worshiping clones is quite the task. It’s that which makes the discovery of a band like Balance Interruption all the more heartening. Theirs is a black metal that does not give one single fuck for orthodoxy or the constraints of genre and their third album, Door 218, is a devastating tour-de-force of industrial, progressive black metal that deserves to be raised above the mediocre masses and praised for the damaged genius that it is.
There’s a hell of a lot of different ideas and influences present on Door 218, to the extent that writing them down might give the impression that the album is a directionless mess. Nothing could be further from the truth, though; despite the way the songs will often veer off at progressive tangents, even including the use of saxophone on tracks like ‘Suicidealer’, it always feels as if Balance Interruption have complete control, taking their music in exactly the direction they want it to go. This is not a case of experimentation or diversity simply for the sake of it, but a prime example of how introducing non-metal elements can create stark contrasts, and make the more traditional elements (furious guitars, blast beats, vocals from the depths of hell) seem all the more powerful.
Perhaps the most impressive element of Door 218 isn’t the sheer creative madness on display, or the way that the band still manage to craft actual songs out of all the different sounds they use, but that they do so whilst still keeping that dangerous, blasphemous black metal feeling intact. Even when ‘Incubatum Conveyor’ threatens to veer off in to some almost danceable directions, there is still a cold, harsh, vicious aspect to the music. ‘Morbid Soul Shelter’ lives up to its name, replete with ice-cold guitar movements and a cold atmosphere; whilst ‘D.U.S.T’ has an ominous, lurking violence to it that’s not far removed from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas – at least, until the saxophone and jazz-infused drumming kicks in, in a startlingly effective change of mood.
From the above, it may be tempting to draw a few comparisons – chiefly, Mysticum and Shining (Nor). Neither of these are quite right though – Balance Interruption don’t come across as being anything like as self-conscious and intentionally awkward as Shining (Nor); and their industrial elements aren’t as dominant to the expense of the metal as I find to be the case with Mysticum, with Door 218 being a black metal album first and foremost. A very strange, challenging one for sure, complimented with all sorts of outside influences and styles, but still fundamentally black metal.
Regardless of such distinctions, the fact remains that Door 218 is a real underground gem, and exactly the kind of album that is worthy of being raised above the generic, tired tropes that constitute so much black metal these days. It is absolutely fearless, and Balance Interruption deserve to be praised for creating such an ambitious piece of art.