Be'lakor - _Of Breath and Bone_
(Rockstar Records, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8.5 out of 10)
Upon my first exposure to their 2009 album _Stone's Reach_, I was thinking to myself that this band needs more time, and I was rewarded for that. Australia's Be'lakor had somehow mustered up an hour long melodic death metal album in a time when the integrity of the whole sub-genre was being questioned. Did they revive it? Did they lead it into new territory? Of course the recent contributions of Omnium Gatherum and Insonmium shall not be cast aside, but there's something about Be'lakor that makes their brand of death metal exceptional. The music is indeed melodic, but not in the bland sense of a typical riff with a catchy melody played next to it for the sake of good measure. There's a lot of sensibility in their choice of notes, when they need to be played and how many times they need to be played.

So three years after their highly lauded sophomore effort we have Be'lakor's third full-length _Of Breath and Bone_; another vibrant compendium of death metal that shines as a beacon of light for the entire sub-genre. Without venturing much into technicalities, I'd say that their captivating melodies do a great job of elevating the intelligent guitar arrangements, sturdy drumming and thick vocals. There's a general sense of depth to the production of the whole album. The drums are comfortably on the low end of the pitch and the guitars swing ever so swiftly from soaring melodies to beefy riffs with ease. All these elements, in addition to some very intelligent keyboards, provide a perfect background for the vocals which are growled with brute force.

The eight tracks comprising _Of Breath and Bone_ are all between six and nine minutes, save for the gloomy yet beautiful ninety second interlude "To Stir the Sea". There are repetitions in almost every track, but none of that is superfluous. Progress is accumulated in each repetition so that ideas can lend way to other ideas through a smooth transition. The way "Abeyance" just bleeds into "Remnants" without any awkwardness is one example of Be'lakor's fastidiousness as to how they want their album to develop. "Fraught" is an explosive piece with pummeling 6/4 riffs, deep growls and neck breaking transitions, while "In Parting" will project a more dark and haunting atmosphere.

These are but simple snippets of what you'll get to experience as you sink your teeth into this brilliant Be'lakor album. _Of Breath and Bone_ has all the essential melodic death metal elements that put any band at the danger of sounding generic. But where many other bands have reached an impasse, these five young men from Melbourne have put together their collective heads to rise once more above the slums of metal mediocrity and send shockwaves through the underground metal world.


(article published 15/7/2012)

6/23/2007 K Sarampalis 8 Be'Lakor - The Frail Tide
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