How in the fuck is a band like Be’lakor not signed to a decent label? (In the US anyway) Not only did they deliver a stunning self released debut, The Frail Tide in 2007, which was universally acclaimed, they have followed it up with a tighter, better produced follow up. All a label has to do is license it, slap a sticker on it and distribute it, like Candlelight Records did with Martriden’s excellent self released EP back in 2007.
Anyhow, on Stone’s Reach Australia’s Be’lakor (named after a Warhammer Game character) improve on their formula that’s a somber form of synth laced, gruff melodic death/doom metal that culls most obviously from Insomnium, Slumber, Novembers Doom, Rapture and Garden of Shadows, and it’s amazing.
Starting with some Opeth like acoustics and subsequent rumble, “Venator” gets out of the gate with some simply gorgeous solo work immediately highlighting the bands improved tightness and delivery, then around 6 minutes in, the band launch into a truly stunning, somber bridge that will please fans of all Finnish melancholic metal. “From Scythe to Spectre” is pure, blissful, despondent melodies wrapped in deep but eloquent Finish doom/death vocals and a more uptempo pace with a mid song acoustic break and subsequent symphonic climax to die for.
I could go through each top notch song individually, but I’ll try to keep you, the reader somewhat interested. After the excellently expansive “Outlive the Hand”, the rest of the album picks up the tempo a bit, though still flocked with rending harmonies bouncing around the back bone of the music as “Sun’s Delusion”, “Held In Hollows” and “Aspect” show with a deft mix of double bass and sublime melodic layering. The crown jewel of the album though has to be 10 minute closer “Countless Skies”, which initially returns to the more somber hues of the first two tracks with a piano flocked intro that’s just mesmerizing. But then the track evolves into truly epic melodic death metal track with some of the most gorgeous riffs, atmospherics and time changes you’ll hear in a long time.
How truly brilliant bands like Be’lakor, Gywnbleidd ( I hardly think Blackcurrant Music can be considered a real metal label -no disrespect meant), The Fifth Sun, The Pax Cecilia and such remain unsigned while Century Media, Nuclear Blast and Metal Blade (generally) churn out rehashed mediocrity astounds me. Will someone step up and reward this talented act with a damn record deal?[Visit the band's website]