Jul 052016

Belakor-Vessels

 

(DGR presents this round-up of new music, which completes a two-part post that he began here.)

I joked in the previous collection that I wrote that the flood of music which hit in June was a little hilarious. There’s been so much that it feels like I’ve become a giant net in which news lands and then I dump the whole thing upon this site for users to romp around in, and guess what? The comedic flood of music continues unabated with Round Two of our roundup.

We posted Round One last week, and the dredging of the internet continues as we dig for more music videos/song streams/full album streams to talk about. This time around the collection is actually pretty Europe-heavy, with our one huge divergence being a trip out to Australia — which happens to be our lead-off as well. The collection of bands this time around also features one newer discovery and also a check-in with a band who haven’t had some stuff out in some time.

Be’lakor – Smoke Of Many Fires and Vessels Album Stream

We’ve reviewed Be’lakor’s Vessels already, and I share Andy’s opinion that Vessels is a really good album, but recent weeks have brought even more news — though I can now keep this a little more truncated. One is that the band premiered a lyric video for the song “Smoke Of Many Fires” over at Horror Society, and two, if you prefer your music streams less lyric-video-heavy, Bloody-Disgusting grabbed a whole album stream here.

Jun 202016

Belakor-Vessels

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Australia’s Be’lakor.)

With so much of its musical territory cannibalised in the boom and bust of the Metalcore bubble, and with so many of its originators/innovators either breaking up or shifting their sound (for better or for worse) into pastures new, it’s been a rough decade or so for the style known as “Melodeath”, particularly since most of its adherents seem to have long since settled into a comfortable rut of rehashing and reusing the same old riffs and the same old melodies, ad infintum, ad nauseum.

Heck, there’s practically a cottage-industry these days dedicated to churning out a stream of generic-brand Insomnium clones, as if the masses of faceless At The Gates rip-offs and soulless In Flames copycats weren’t already diluting the genre enough as it is.

So perhaps you can understand that, as much as I was looking forward to hearing the latest Be’lakor album, my expectations were tempered somewhat by my general dissatisfaction with the state of the modern Melodeath scene, and my still somewhat lukewarm feelings towards 2012’s solid, but unspectacular, Of Breath and Bone.

But blow me down and call me Shirley if the Aussie quintet haven’t stepped up their game on this one.

Mar 262016

Sorcery-Garden of Bones

 

I blogged like a blogging fool last week, shirking my fucking day job to an embarrassing extent. Now I have to pay for all the shirking by working this weekend. Or at least that’s the plan; I wouldn’t bet a lot of money on that if I were you. But before I attempt to make good on that noxious plan, here’s a collection of news and new music that’s not noxious, except in a good way.

SORCERY

I discovered yesterday that Xtreem Music will be releasing a new Sorcery album named Garden of Bones on May 15. I’m as excited as a springbok being chased by a cheetah.

Jan 072013

This is Part 10 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day until the list is finished, except today, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three we’re announcing today, click here.

Australian metal killed it in 2012. I’m not saying that Australian metal bands weren’t killing it before last year, but in 2012 they put a stake through the heart and cut the head off. I’ve already included a song from one Australian band in this list (Gospel of the Horns), and today I’m adding three more — three songs from three great albums that helped make 2012 a banner year for metal from Down Under.

BE’LAKOR

Andy Synn reviewed Be’lakor’s Of Breath and Bone for us here. One song in particular infected me, and it brings a smile every time I hear its opening notes. The song is “Remnants”, and here’s what Andy had to say about it: 

Sep 062012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.

DAY 1

Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live.

May 312012

I saw this album cover. It’s for the next album by DysrhythmiaTest of Submission, which Profound Lore says they will be releasing on August 28. No test is needed . . . I am ready to submit.

I also saw that Be’lakor has just put HD versions of all the songs from their terrific new album Of Breath and Bone up on YouTube. Find those tracks here. Read Andy Synn’s review of the album here. (And thanks to NCS reader Daniel for the tip on this news.)

I also saw that Doris Yeh from Chthonic is on the cover of a fashion magazine called FHM.  I no longer have to wonder what she looks like naked.

May 092012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn reviews the highly anticipated new album by Australia’s Be’lakor.)

Be’lakor have become, it seems to me, immune to criticism in the underground press. I say this to let you know that this isn’t going to be a fawning, sycophantic review of the band’s latest album; I have tried my very best to stay impartial, even though the temptation was to simply love this album merely for its existence. That being said, while I have no major criticisms of the record (and have fallen head over heels in love with some of the tracks), I have come out of the experience with a few concerns preying on my mind.

Let’s get one thing straight first though, you’ve probably already formed your opinions that this is going to be good – hell, I’d wager that most people formed their opinion about the album without even hearing a single note – but the question is, how good?

To get the obvious comparisons out of the way, neither as heart-wrenchingly melancholic as recent Insomnium, nor as shamelessly audacious as latter-day Omnium Gatherum, the main criticism I can level at Of Breath and Bone is that while it is characteristically and distinctively a Be’lakor album (falling ultimately somewhere between The Frail Tide and Stone’s Reach), there is a certain spark missing from a few of the tracks, which impacts the experience of the record as a whole.

More restrained and perhaps a more consciously considered record than its predecessor, this factor is both a blessing and a curse for the band. It allows their multi-layered melodies room to breathe and expand, but softens the impact of some of their more fiery moments. At their most epic and nuanced, this restraint works wonders, allowing the band to express their melodic palette fully, yet at their most aggressive this often serves, paradoxically, to limit their full expression. Fundamentally the album is very much a companion piece to Stone’s Reach, introverted where that album was extroverted, restrained where it was unfettered.

May 052012

I’m way late to the Be’lakor party.  The first music I heard from this Australian band was “Remnants”, which was the first song they aired from their new third album Of Breath and Bone (coming in June from Kolony Records). It gob-smacked me right in my gob. And then I caught a video of a live performance of another song (“Fraught”) and got smacked again.  Wrote about both those songs in this post, where you can hear the songs if you haven’t (just be careful of your gob). To steal a phrase from Phro, they sound like “Amon Amarth making antichrist babies with Insomnium”, with Amorphis as the midwife.

This morning we got yet another song from the album.  This one is called “Absit Omen”, which is Latin for “will fuck your shit up”. I still can’t do better than comparing the music to a fusion of Amon Amarth-style crushing riffs, dark Insomnium-esque melodies, and death-metal vocals that give Johan Hegg and Niilo Sevänen a run for their money.

The song is majestic, powerful, memorable. This really is melodic death metal done right. Can’t wait for the album to drop! Listen to “Absit Omen” right after the jump.

Apr 162012

I’m going to say this up-front, so it gets maximum attention: “For fans of Amon Amarth and Insomnium!” Those are names to conjure with, and they are the names that first popped into my head when I listened to a brand new song called “Remnants” by a Melbourne, Australia band named Be’lakor.

The song comes from this band’s third album, Of Breath and Bone, which will be released in June. It was the first song by Be’lakor that I had ever heard, but it was the kind of song that got me as excited as a hypoglycemic kid in a candy store. I hoped that the rest of the album would live up to this first taste.

The introductory instrumental has an almost folk-metal air, with the lead guitar tuned so that it sounds like bagpipes, but then the big Amon Amarth-like riffs come down like thunder and you get your first taste of George Kosmas’ truly cavernous roars — they’re right in the middle of Johan Hegg/Niilo Sevänen territory, and that’s a territory laced with gold.

And onward from there, the song delivers a succession of riveting riffs, goth/doom melodies, and beautifully constructed guitar leads and solo’s. It gallops, it chugs, it vibrates with arcane power, it rumbles like avalanche, it pulses with urgency, and it soars with virulently infectious melodies. It’s a dynamic song, continually shifting in tone and speed, and it has well and truly hooked me.

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