Ba’al – “Soft Eyes” EP review

£7.00 pre-order

Reviewed by:
On 24 April 2024
Last modified:24 April 2024


If you thought Ellipsism was good, then this fantastic EP will have you painfully wishing for a new full-length album to appear soon.

Sheffield’s post-black metal quintet Ba’al is ready to release their best music yet…

Three years on from their brilliant debut album “Ellipsism” Ba’al deliver to us, three new tracks in the form of the “Soft Eyes” EP. Building upon the post-black metal of the debut, “Soft Eyes” shows a more refined and progressive nature, without distancing itself from its roots.

The opening track “Ornamental Doll” may be familiar to anyone who has seen Ba’al live over the last 12 months. However, it takes on a different life as a studio-recorded song, allowing us to hear subtle nuances that can be lost at a gig. Joe Stamps’ vocals are superb on this. His anguished screams for me were still slightly behind the instruments on studio output, but with lyrics to hand, they spring forward. Weaving a tapestry of dreamy melodic riffs heavier, slower passages, and a lot of atmosphere, the band is obviously in great form.

My favourite bit of this song is a quiet almost spoken word movement, that has Joe sounding more like Pete Murphy of Bauhaus, before the black metal scream, and death metal growls return, with ebb and flow before plaintive and emotional singing dissolves into almost industrial noise for the last minute or so… Watch the lyric video for it below

A rather sinister beginning to our second track, with a simple bit of bass guitar over synth atmosphere brings a promise of something aggressive ahead. And I am proved right after snarled vocals leading into a hefty riff with a slow groove hit home. As with other Ba’al releases, the lyrics can be enigmatic but often have a personal note to them from the pen of Joe Stamps. This one is no exception to that rule, with intelligent metaphors such as “And some who would help, Dress as Portia, but speak Iago’s lines, Wrong stage, my love Now be a dear and fuck off“. I’m not really sure what Joe is getting at here, but if you know a bit about Shakespeare and the two characters mentioned, it’s pretty profound stuff! And I think this is the first song I have ever encountered in extreme metal with the Yorkshire phrase “I’ll Sithee” as part of the lyrics!

And now the final track – yes only three songs, but Ba’al don’t do short songs – clocking in at just over 10 minutes in length “Bamber Bridge” rounds out a very splendid EP. Hang fire a tick – Bamber Bridge? Near Preston? What on earth could make you write and perform a song about this place? Well, with lyrics to hand and a bit of historical knowledge about the town, all becomes apparent. Again, it is a very emotive, heartfelt and intelligent song, starting with an almost sorrowful tune, before the guitars and drums slam into your ears like a clash of battling forces.

And this is the song’s essence – It’s about racial divides and hatred which were demonstrated in The Battle Of Bamber Bridge during WW2. A regiment of mostly African Americans was billeted in the town, and due to underlying tensions from the 1943 Detroit Race Riots, the regiment and townsfolk, had a massive fight with bigoted white American Military Police, in which one of the black servicemen was killed. If I prove to be wrong here Joe, then I owe you and the band a pint each the next time I see you play! I must point out that there is a wonderful guitar solo around the 07:30 mark of the song, adding further depth to the emotionally heavy atmosphere herein created.

Final thoughts…

If you thought Ellipsism was good, then this fantastic EP will have you painfully wishing for a new full-length album to appear soon. Joe and bandmates Chris, Nick, Richard, and Luke have raised the bar for themselves, and the entire subgenre of post-black metal as a whole. With the likes of Alcest being one of the names that usually come to mind for this kind of music, now it is time for Ba’al to be crowned the new King.

Ornamental Doll was released as a single on 19th April, and the full EP is due to be released on 3rd May

Ba’al: (L-R) Nick Gosling (Guitars), Luke Rutter (drums), Joe Stamps (Vocals), Richard Spencer (Bass), Chris Mole (Guitars)

Track List

01) – Ornamental Doll (09:33)

02) – Yearn To Burn Bright (07:26)

03) – Bamber Bridge (10:04)


Buy from:



If you thought Ellipsism was good, then this fantastic EP will have you painfully wishing for a new full-length album to appear soon.

About Steve Tottle

Lover of all things metal - the more extreme the better! Metal head since 1982. Also been a Gary Numan fan since 1979. I also love good food - cooking and eating it. Real ale, St Helens RLFC, Aircraft, Classic cars and diesel locomotives,and most of all, great friends!