Stone's Reach

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]
Written by Erik T
July 21st, 2009


  1. Commented by: Staylow

    “Will someone step up and reward this talented act with a damn record deal?”

    No shit. If there is any unsigned band out there right now that is deserving of a record deal, it’s these guys. I thought the debut was pretty mind blowing, but this new one just shatters it in every aspect. A truly epic album worthy of being called Album of the Year. Great review Erik.

  2. Commented by: Iwein

    This is downright beautiful music. Big up and a record deal! Quickly!

  3. Commented by: Nick

    Great review Erik. I checked ’em out after I read this and they are indeed amazing. Please please please, if you haven’t already, look into the band In Vain and their debut The Latter Rain. It’s one of my favorite cds of all time and it’s quite similar to Be’lakor.

  4. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yup- i like these guys- remember them well, but I let Shane review it:

  5. Commented by: Ryan

    Just listened to a couple songs, REALLY good stuff. Wish there was an easier way to get it across the pond.

  6. Commented by: Jodi

    Gotta check these guys out…your review really has me interested.

  7. Commented by: SHANE

    Yeah I’m pretty damn speechless over this. Going to be a hard band to top in another year. In Vain are awesome as well. They have a new one coming soon. That will be interesting to compare to this.

  8. Commented by: ceno

    One of the bands from Australia that immediately come to mind when you think of this country’s metal scene. Really, really love the debut and the new one is nothing short of greatness too. How the hell come they haven’t been signed yet? Well, seems like injustice still rules the world.In Vain are fucking great too. Am very interested in hearing their sophomore. Very nice review, Erik. I wish someone with enough reason from a major metal label would read it and finally offer these guys what they undoubtedly deserve

  9. Commented by: SludgeHammer

    Hey Erik you actually got quoted in an ad for this album in this month’s issue of Terrorizer. P.61, opposite the interview interview The Gates of Slumber.

  10. Commented by: thewinterland

    Awesome review Erik! This band makes me so proud to be an Aussie! They’re fantastic live as well and also really nice guys to meet.

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