Rating:
9.0
Be'lakor - Of Breath And Bone
1 June 2012


01. Abeyance
02. Remnants
03. Fraught
04. Absit Omen
05. To Stir The Sea
06. In Parting
07. The Dream And The Waking
08. By Moon And Star


In what can only be described as a natural progression of one of the most highly regarded melodic death metal albums of the decade in Stone's Reach, Be'lakor have taken to the studio once more with the hopes of building on their already unrelenting momentum.

Of Breath and Bone begins as if "Countless Skies" was a season finale that left its audience begging for answers, building upon the exact qualities responsible for the praise of its predecessor. The dense, almost depressive atmosphere is as prominent as ever, separating the band from the sea of melodic death metal as oil asserts itself atop water. Their songwriting prowess is put on display as early as the opening track, "Abeyance", and just gets better and better throughout the course of the album. A noticeable difference this time around is the more folk-influenced guitar melodies, and a stronger focus on piano passages - both of which add to the overall somber mood. It's far from being monumentally different, but that's not going to upset a great deal of fans by any means.

In spite of the subtle changes, the album as a whole works perfectly as a direct follow-up to Stone's Reach, as some of the riffs even sound similar in the sense that - again - a story is being concluded. The fact that this ability spans two albums and not just two songs is rather impressive in itself, but this isn't the band's most appealing quality. That distinction would go to the accessibility, which of course at this point is synonymous with the genre, but here Be'lakor have an advantage. Building on the aforementioned atmosphere, these guys manage to include some incredibly catchy riffs and haunting melodies that are capable of inducing a man-tear or two while the headbanging quality is top-notch. Think Amon Amarth at their manliest or Insomnium at their bleakest. The band members deserve kudos if not only for incorporating elements from both bands while maintaining their own voice - something that is unique in this genre.

Songs begin and end in what is fast becoming "typical fashion" for the band, with introductions that build up a bombastic body of work before closing out with even more fervent proficiency, and yet another break in the action by way of an acoustic instrumental track ("To Stir the Sea") keeps the album from becoming one continuous melting pot of overlapping riffs.

Simply put, Of Breath and Bone is more of the same but in a more continued sense that will undoubtedly cause the same stir as its predecessor. This album doesn't mark a new direction and maintains the same successful formula as before, but this time around the entirety of the band's sound comes off as more direct, and even slightly more daring. With a mixture of fluffy, light-hearted melodies and brutal fist-pounding riffs backing up the always delectable growls of George Kosmas; a heavy production that lends a major hand to the doleful vibe, thanks in large part to Jens Bogren; and insanely catchy, yet forward-thinking compositions, these Australians have delivered exactly what fans of the band have been eagerly awaiting. No unpleasant surprises, no needless changes or drastic transitions - just well-executed melancholic melodic death metal that further builds upon a foundation that is largely considered to be one of the strongest currently in the scene.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Band profile: Be'lakor
Album: Of Breath And Bone


 



Written on 23.05.2012 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
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Merchant of Doom - 26.05.2012 at 11:32  
Written by Ozman on 25.05.2012 at 19:02

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 25.05.2012 at 17:26

...Mournful Congregation's Box Of Kings sold out in the blink of an eye.


And one is coming my way soon


I found the new Mournful Congregation SOOOOO boring I couldn't even listen to the whole album... gathering dust on my shelves...
Slayer666 - 26.05.2012 at 11:43  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 26.05.2012 at 11:32

I found the new Mournful Congregation SOOOOO boring I couldn't even listen to the whole album... gathering dust on my shelves...


Some Merchant of Doom you are... That was the best extreme doom release of the year, if you ask me. "The Waterless Streams", just a priceless track.
Merchant of Doom - 26.05.2012 at 12:44  
Written by Slayer666 on 26.05.2012 at 11:43

Written by Merchant of Doom on 26.05.2012 at 11:32

I found the new Mournful Congregation SOOOOO boring I couldn't even listen to the whole album... gathering dust on my shelves...


Some Merchant of Doom you are... That was the best extreme doom release of the year, if you ask me. "The Waterless Streams", just a priceless track.


Same point... after 4 full lengths, two demos and numerous splits, it just gets boring to hear the same formula over and over again... I didn't say it's a bad album, just boring... they've been going on since 1994! Don't they get bored themselves?
Ozman - 26.05.2012 at 12:58  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 26.05.2012 at 11:32

Written by Ozman on 25.05.2012 at 19:02

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 25.05.2012 at 17:26

...Mournful Congregation's Box Of Kings sold out in the blink of an eye.


And one is coming my way soon


I found the new Mournful Congregation SOOOOO boring I couldn't even listen to the whole album... gathering dust on my shelves...


Yet you enjoy doom which makes Mournful Congregation look like one of the most varied bands ever
Merchant of Doom - 26.05.2012 at 13:18  
Written by Ozman on 26.05.2012 at 12:58

Written by Merchant of Doom on 26.05.2012 at 11:32

Written by Ozman on 25.05.2012 at 19:02

Written by Chobo_jokeR on 25.05.2012 at 17:26

...Mournful Congregation's Box Of Kings sold out in the blink of an eye.


And one is coming my way soon


I found the new Mournful Congregation SOOOOO boring I couldn't even listen to the whole album... gathering dust on my shelves...


Yet you enjoy doom which makes Mournful Congregation look like one of the most varied bands ever


Mournful Congregation are worse than the most boring bands I listen too. My point was that they have been around for over 15 years and are still using the same formula... so, they are boring. Any other band doing this would be slaughtered, yet, for some reason, MC are untouchable. The albums are good, but I'm bored of them... did I say boring?
Troy Killjoy - 26.05.2012 at 13:23  
Okay okay I like Mournful Congregation, but why are we talking about them in a Be'lakor review thread?
Ozman - 26.05.2012 at 13:24  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 26.05.2012 at 13:18


Mournful Congregation are worse than the most boring bands I listen too. My point was that they have been around for over 15 years and are still using the same formula... so, they are boring. Any other band doing this would be slaughtered, yet, for some reason, MC are untouchable. The albums are good, but I'm bored of them... did I say boring?


Same thing? they have changed a lot over the years. If you can''t hear that you''re deaf I find it funny that the person who likes most generic funeral doom which adds totally nothign new to the table would call MC boring and saying they haven't changed and would see that as a weak point about them
Merchant of Doom - 26.05.2012 at 13:32  
Written by Ozman on 26.05.2012 at 13:24


Same thing? they have changed a lot over the years. If you can''t hear that you''re deaf I find it funny that the person who likes most generic funeral doom which adds totally nothign new to the table would call MC boring and saying they haven't changed and would see that as a weak point about them


Who says I only listen to funeral doom? Where did this silly thing come from? I like all doom, apart from stoner and trad... The last 3 MC's albums sound exactly the same... heavy part, soft part, heavy part... Most bands progress... listen to the new Aldebaran or even Ahab's (like them or not, that's not the point)...
Ozman - 26.05.2012 at 13:35  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 26.05.2012 at 13:32

Written by Ozman on 26.05.2012 at 13:24


Same thing? they have changed a lot over the years. If you can''t hear that you''re deaf I find it funny that the person who likes most generic funeral doom which adds totally nothign new to the table would call MC boring and saying they haven't changed and would see that as a weak point about them


Who says I only listen to funeral doom? Where did this silly thing come from? I like all doom, apart from stoner and trad... The last 3 MC's albums sound exactly the same... heavy part, soft part, heavy part... Most bands progress... listen to the new Aldebaran or even Ahab's (like them or not, that's not the point)...



please quote properly first

And where did I say you listen to funeral doom only? Rereread what I wrote "the person who likes most generic funeral doom''. Nowhere does that sentence imply you only listen to funeral doom, it only implies you like a lot of generic funeral doom, which you do.
Merchant of Doom - 26.05.2012 at 13:39  
Written by Ozman on 26.05.2012 at 13:35


please quote properly first

And where did I say you listen to funeral doom only? Rereread what I wrote "the person who likes most generic funeral doom''. Nowhere does that sentence imply you only listen to funeral doom, it only implies you like a lot of generic funeral doom, which you do.


you didn't give me the time to fix the message! Again, you think I listen to generic funeral doom, but that's your opinion... I find MC's doom generic too...
Ozman - 26.05.2012 at 13:41  
We all know you listen and praise generic funeral doom. At least MC play their own brand

But let's not get off-topic too much, even thoguh tallking about boring and generic is extremely on-topic when it come to all of Be'lakor's albums
Stoned Crow - 26.05.2012 at 14:17  
Then all metal is generic, it's called Metal- a "genre" of music.
generic - Characteristic of or relating to a class or group; not specific:
Hence- all metal is generic, as long as the names of bands don't follow in the line of Band #1, Band #2, Band #3, etc.
Even then, the numerical distinction would still separate them.
What other band, when you listen to them, makes you say "They sound like Be'lakor"?
In a post-modern world, what isn't generic?
But, I know. Let's pretend we are all original and agree to see eye to eye when we're six feet deep/cremated. fuck it- dead.
I thought music was sensual- meaning a form of entertainment, expression, etc.
Verbally jousting over what band is good, better, best is pretty deadening in of itself- are we dead already?
Forgive me, I'm stoned.
Troy Killjoy - 26.05.2012 at 14:22  
Written by Guest on 26.05.2012 at 14:17
generic - Characteristic of or relating to a class or group; not specific:
What other band, when you listen to them, makes you say "They sound like Be'lakor"?

I'm on "your side" in this and I still disagree here.

You're describing generic as a categorization. Marcel meant generic as in "common", "not original/unusual", etc.

And most people would argue Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, and to a lesser extent, Noumena, all sound like Be'lakor.
Stoned Crow - 26.05.2012 at 14:27  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 26.05.2012 at 14:22

Written by Guest on 26.05.2012 at 14:17
generic - Characteristic of or relating to a class or group; not specific:
What other band, when you listen to them, makes you say "They sound like Be'lakor"?

I'm on "your side" in this and I still disagree here.

You're describing generic as a categorization. Marcel meant generic as in "common", "not original/unusual", etc.

And most people would argue Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, and to a lesser extent, Noumena, all sound like Be'lakor.


Sorry for my additional edits. I didn't mean to infringe on your response.

I'm sure if we all listen to enough metal, loud and thumping in our ears, what sound is becomes quite personal.
But "common" is a categorization, so is "unusual". In this sense, it's not a commodity, like the words 'Doom' or 'Death', but they are still categorizations.

It just seems more prone of metal fans who listen to more distinctive, and "original" metal tend to blast what is "common". I rarely see someone who listens to what is "common" under "elitist" (If I can dare use that word) band threads bashing them for it.

As for this being Stone's Reach Part II, I think the one characteristic of their music they need to drop after this release is the 8-bit midi sounding sections throughout their music. If you focus on the instrumentation around these parts, and even underneath them, there is obvious progression in their music. These sections are what make me think "Stone's Reach Part II".

I'm not trying to argue with Marcel, I'll admit, I'm not into Doom, but I do respect it. I honestly haven't consumed enough of it to have a definite statement about Doom. But Warning's song Footprints is stellar, the entire album is amazing. I'm more into Death elements, I like fast more so than heavy. But heavy is good, no doubt. It's just not always my cup of tea. I'm listening to this again, after stepping away from it for awhile, listening to other stuff, and I like it even more. I wish it were a track or two longer- pretty much my only complaint.

And another thing, why is Mournful Congregation a hidden band? As Troy pointed out under "The Book of Kings"
Written by Troy Killjoy on 01.11.2011 at 03:15

Written by R'Vannith on 01.11.2011 at 03:03
Cheers for the link!

No problem, more people need to be aware of this band/album.

Why is something so original hidden? What else are you elites hiding? tsk tsk....
I'm off to listen to "The Book of Kings", since I've found it. It's odd to blame people for not knowing of the hidden treasures of metal when you fuckers are hiding it. Who runs this pirate ship?
Merchant of Doom - 26.05.2012 at 17:06  
Written by Ozman on 26.05.2012 at 13:41


But let's not get off-topic too much, even thoguh tallking about boring and generic is extremely on-topic when it come to all of Be'lakor's albums


Agreed on this...
Timmeh - 27.05.2012 at 04:29  
Written by Guest on 26.05.2012 at 14:27

...I think the one characteristic of their music they need to drop after this release is the 8-bit midi sounding sections throughout their music.

The spike riffs? That's classic Be'lakor man!
Stoned Crow - 27.05.2012 at 06:33  
Written by Timmeh on 27.05.2012 at 04:29

Written by Guest on 26.05.2012 at 14:27

...I think the one characteristic of their music they need to drop after this release is the 8-bit midi sounding sections throughout their music.

The spike riffs? That's classic Be'lakor man!


I know- I'm saying they need to move on. From 1:45-2:15 on Abeyance- and other sections throughout, I'm not a fan of. I don't mind them, but I'm happy when the music gets past them. When it's minimally used, like on By Moon and Star, at 3:41, I like it, but the previously mentioned portion of Abeyance, I really don't like it at all. I feel that way about most of these sections in their music, some I like, some I don't.
Troy Killjoy - 27.05.2012 at 06:39  
Written by Guest on 27.05.2012 at 06:33
I know- I'm saying they need to move on. From 1:45-2:15 on Abeyance- and other sections throughout, I'm not a fan of. I don't mind them, but I'm happy when the music gets past them.

You do realize their band name comes from a Warhammer character, right?
Stoned Crow - 27.05.2012 at 06:43  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 27.05.2012 at 06:39

Written by Guest on 27.05.2012 at 06:33
I know- I'm saying they need to move on. From 1:45-2:15 on Abeyance- and other sections throughout, I'm not a fan of. I don't mind them, but I'm happy when the music gets past them.

You do realize their band name comes from a Warhammer character, right?


Yes
Stoned Crow - 27.05.2012 at 07:15  
But, if I remember correctly, I've read interviews where the band claims the music isn't derived from the game itself. That the name was a suggestion, because a "couple" of the band mates play it.
"Yes, that was the origin of the name. A couple of the guys played Warhammer and Be'lakor was suggested as a potential band name. I remember that at first I was skeptical about the name, because at that stage I wanted something more 'typical' I suppose. However, looking back, I am really glad that we chose this name, because it's quite a different name when compared to many of the other metal band names out there." @ Teeth of the Divine
and
"GK: Be'lakor is a character name we derived from the fantasy world of Warhammer, which several of our members enjoyed. The name itself has no particular significance; we chose it because it was short, sharp and phonetically pleasant." @ Metal Mayhem UK
Troy Killjoy - 27.05.2012 at 07:17  
For someone whose signature is "it's whatever", you seem to have difficulty just leaving well enough alone.
Stoned Crow - 27.05.2012 at 07:33  
Whatever
.Nick - 27.05.2012 at 12:42  
Picking this up as soon as it is available at my local metal shop
Valaskjalf - 27.05.2012 at 17:56  
Yeah pretty much "Stone's Reach 2.0" - Same vibe but Ive only listened through it once. Hopefully it will grow enough on me to pick it up soonish.
Risto - 27.05.2012 at 18:08  
Written by Valaskjalf on 27.05.2012 at 17:56

Yeah pretty much "Stone's Reach 2.0" - Same vibe but Ive only listened through it once.

Yep, very natural progression. I would say the overall sound is more uniform compared to Stone's Reach.
jdsony - 29.05.2012 at 23:57  
I've liked Be'Lakor a lot since discovering their first album, one of my favorite bands. While their music definitely doesn't jump out at you, offer anything completely new, or even showcase amazing technical skill, the song writing is completely top notch. I love the progression of the songs and the organic transformation that takes place. There is a great mix of up-tempo, down-tempo and atmospheric elements. Normally I never really get into bands like this but for some reason they strike a chord with me. I have yet to listen to this album but am about to. Their production on the last two albums was "good enough" but never great. That's the strangest thing about this band for me, other than song writing no one element stands out but together it just works.
Grammy - 31.05.2012 at 23:08  
This album is perfect in every way. I cant stop listening to it
3dd - 01.06.2012 at 20:41  
Finally! Another perfect production of one of my favorite bands. It's been months of waiting, there's no words to express the awesomeness of this album, every track is epic as hell. I simply can't stop listening.

"In Parting" and "The Dream And The Waking" (and of course "Fraught"!) are my favorite tracks.

It's not the best album of the year, it'ts the best album of recent years! Perfect.
oblong - 05.06.2012 at 16:40  
Very good review.

A good release, definitely a grower.
Milena - 12.06.2012 at 23:35  
So Troy, in your opinion, this is Be'lakor's Above The Weeping World-moment?
Troy Killjoy - 13.06.2012 at 00:31  
Written by Milena on 12.06.2012 at 23:35
So Troy, in your opinion, this is Be'lakor's Above The Weeping World-moment?

It's tough to say. I mean, Stone's Reach was already so good... their discography is shaping up to look rather similar compared to Insomnium's though.
Troy Killjoy - 26.06.2012 at 00:43  
Written by Lustful Maid on 25.06.2012 at 23:14
Overrated.
This is an Experimental Death Album. Trying to combine styles of Swallow The Sun's The Morning Never Came and Agalloch's The Mantle. Making use of Death style to keep your emotion high, and mixing Agalloch's experimental style to soothe you. Unfortunately, it was not well blended, always make my attention wander. Techinically they are no match with S.T.S and Agalloch. The music failed to keep your emotion steady could be the reason to make you feel bored.

The guitarists picked their string a lot in their first few song, similar to "staccato" technique in keyboard was innovative. Very Experimental.

There really isn't anything experimental going on here; it's a fairly straight-forward melodic death metal album that emphasizes a somber atmosphere. These guys have never had anything to do with the melodic death doom style of Swallow the Sun, nor do they have any ties to the atmo-black/dark folk hybrid of Agalloch.

I can understand someone not liking this album for a variety of reasons - but because it sounds like a poor version of Swallow the Sun or Agalloch? I honestly don't even understand how either of those two bands were brought up in the discussion.
Anduriel - 26.06.2012 at 15:26  
I started on Stone's Reach before I listened to The Frail Tide and I liked the sound from The Frail Tide better than Stone's Reach even though it was more polished - I found that to be much the same for Of Breath and Bone. Then I saw them live, playing from all the albums and the live sound of the latest albums is much more powerful. I think that the CD releases cleans up the sound a bit too much, especially how the "8-bit midi" sound as another poster put it is rather jarringly audible on the CD yet actually works really well live.
John Shock - 04.07.2012 at 03:21  
Nice review men!
Ace Frawley - 04.07.2012 at 06:15  
Agree that this is a good review. Very well written. And I happen to agree with the sentiments expressed.
Until the End - 11.07.2012 at 03:42  
I wouldn't say it's experimental, just very (very,very,very,very x1 trillion) well performed melodic death metal with a good atmosphere and very few flaws. There's not particularly a point in the album where I feel the need to skip and that defines what a good album is to me. It's also one of those albums which has grown on me the more I've listened to it and sounds better after every play through. Needless to say, it'll probably be in my top 3 for the year.
Diamonds - 22.08.2012 at 09:30  
This band is another one of those gems I magically managed to overlook.. I've been really in to the melodic/doomy sound lately and these guys, Insomnium, Enslaved and Woods Of Ypres have quickly become favorites. Awesome music, and the album cover is also a favorite.
Darrek - 12.10.2014 at 15:09  
Excellent album from start to finish, a must buy for almost everyone who likes melodic death metal.

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