Be'lakor - Vessels review



Reviewer:
9.0

581 users:
8.63
Band: Be'lakor
Album: Vessels
Release date: June 2016


01. Luma
02. An Ember's Arc
03. Withering Strands
04. Roots To Sever
05. Whelm
06. A Thread Dissolves
07. Grasping Light
08. The Smoke Of Many Fires


Be'lakor is one of the most highly-praised and widely-beloved bands on Metal Storm, and I guess now we know which album is going to sweep our melodeath category come awards season; but before you storm away in a petulant huff complaining about popularity contests and unfair competition, allow me to explain why Vessels will be the album leading its buddies by 600 votes next February.

Kicking off the band's fourth full-length, "Luma" clocks in at two minutes flat, but receives as much loving attention to detail as any of the lengthy epics situated later in the album. Be'lakor does not waste a single second of this album's running time; building towards two minutes or ten, every moment recorded is a chance to bring to life some new flavor. Where most bands would have written a simple intro, Be'lakor wrote a unique and gripping song to lead off Vessels. The band immediately dives into the multifarious, dramatic atmosphere that cloaks these technically-impressive, moody melodeath tracks, upping the ante shortly with "An Ember's Arc" and continuing the momentum throughout the whole album.

The main reason this album works for me is the array of tonal qualities utilized by Be'lakor. Every layer of this cake - the vocals, the guitars, the piano/keyboards, the bass, the drums, all of it - sounds simply beautiful to me for reasons I lack the vocabulary to properly transcribe. George Kosmas's guttural growls explode with passion and ferocity rivaled by few death metal vocalists; his gravelly tone brings a distinct gravitas, resembling the inhuman gurgling of Demilich's Antti Boman while retaining the focus and sensitivity of Mikael Åkerfeldt. Guitars in tracks like "An Ember's Arc," "Withering Strands," and "The Smoke Of Many Fires" continuously offer new and exciting developments, offering melody while still driving the low end and innovating through somber but earnest strains. The keyboards in the mid-section of "The Smoke Of Many Fires," slippery and dynamic while also entrancing and mystifying, are perhaps the album's highlight in my eyes.

Be'lakor wields the deep, rich textures that make classic Opeth so endlessly majestic; the instinctual knack for meaningful songwriting that propels Amorphis beyond "catchy" and into "transcendent"; the wise mediation of interlocking instrumental threads that made late-era Death a musical deity; the dark, velvety swaths of antediluvian fury that let Primordial live up to its name; the overpowering presence and thunderous exploitation of percussion that make Amon Amarth a force to be reckoned with; and the icy temper that At The Gates unleashes so violently. I honestly can't think of a description better than "chocolate cake tone," even though nothing on Vessels sounds especially like John Petrucci.

For the skeptical or stony-eared observer, the above comparisons probably make sense. Why is Be'lakor so obsessively over-rated on this site? Because it combines all the OTHER obsessively over-rated bands. What I hear, though, more than other bands or an unusually good frolic with melodeath or even this beast called Be'lakor, is a group of musicians deeply in tune with their instruments, with each other, and with the style of music they set out to play, and the passion that lets them succeed.

Be'lakor put thought and effort into every moment of this album and imbued every note with intense emotion. This album succeeds at basically everything; every aspect of Vessels has been explored with forethought and played with passion. There are shades of brilliance in the instrumentation, the rhythms, the song structures, the intonations, the production, the melodies - too many things to spell out. I wasn't even a Be'lakor fanboy until I heard this album, but I guess my tastes are changing.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 06.08.2016 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 25   Visited by: 444 users
06.08.2016 - 04:33
bddidier
OK nice review, but let me say it first: this band is overrated.
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06.08.2016 - 06:24
Amon Amarth
Written by bddidier on 06.08.2016 at 04:33

OK nice review, but let me say it first: this band is overrated.


I still think they're underrated.
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06.08.2016 - 15:36
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
I'd say they're pretty fairly rated, actually. Most of their stuff is pretty high quality considering how boring and cliched the majority of melodeath has become at this point, but I still wouldn't exactly call them a band that everyone and their uncle is talking about, has the merch of, goes to shows for, etc. I guess it's all relative, but comparatively speaking I wouldn't say Be'lakor are that huge a name. I'd definitely call bands like Amon Amarth, COB, and Swallow The Sun "overrated" melodeath before them
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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06.08.2016 - 16:25
Pierre Tombale
Be'lakor's peak performance remains Of Breath And Bone.
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06.08.2016 - 16:30
Malignar
I don't get this band. Like an earlier Opeth with very few riffs, less heaviness...left with only melodic atmospheric noodling. The gruff vocals are pretty good, that's it. Hey at least they don't use those annoying In Flames Gothenburg riffs (what I picture whenever someone uses the term melodeath).
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06.08.2016 - 17:57
Mold of Tree
Account deleted
This album is an ear-gasm! It's too much awesome for me! But my favorite album of them is still 'Of Breath And Bone' which is a truly masterpiece!
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06.08.2016 - 18:44
Diverge
"George Kosmas's guttural growls explode with passion and ferocity rivaled by few death metal vocalists; his gravelly tone brings a distinct gravitas, resembling the inhuman gurgling of Demilich's Antti Boman while retaining the focus and sensitivity of Mikael Åkerfeldt." No need for the Demilich reference with regard to Be'lakor.
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06.08.2016 - 20:21
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Apothecary on 06.08.2016 at 15:36

I'd say they're pretty fairly rated, actually. Most of their stuff is pretty high quality considering how boring and cliched the majority of melodeath has become at this point, but I still wouldn't exactly call them a band that everyone and their uncle is talking about, has the merch of, goes to shows for, etc. I guess it's all relative, but comparatively speaking I wouldn't say Be'lakor are that huge a name. I'd definitely call bands like Amon Amarth, COB, and Swallow The Sun "overrated" melodeath before them

I agree that Be'lakor doesn't seem to have a very huge presence in the real world, and I also think that their ratings here are generally fair. Even before I agreed with the praise, I understood the reasons behind it. I think they have a disproportionately large fan base on this site, though, if not as outspoken or massive as that of the other bands you listed.
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Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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06.08.2016 - 20:21
Risto
Wandering Midget
Written by Malignar on 06.08.2016 at 16:30

I don't get this band. Like an earlier Opeth with very few riffs

Quite a few songs of theirs are plain riff fests, especially on Of Breath and Bone. They're just melodic riffs, some are more long-winded but still recurring patterns.
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06.08.2016 - 20:28
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 06.08.2016 at 20:21

I think they have a disproportionately large fan base on this site, though, if not as outspoken or massive as that of the other bands you listed.

Yeah, well, we're Metalstormers. We have better taste
(and there's my elitism for the day)
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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06.08.2016 - 22:31
s_t_s
I recently got into this band and while I love the many flavours they mix together, to me they are mostly like cooks who manage to make new recipes from mixing good old ones. Sometimes they actually reminded me of old Amorphis and other bands I used to listen to in the late 90s. Good album but I wouldn't rate it a 9.
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06.08.2016 - 23:13
barnesy
Great band! Solid effort! I think sometimes we over think all this. If you just sit back and enjoy this, enjoy you will.
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06.08.2016 - 23:21
Reaper_Redeamer
"The main reason this album works for me is the array of tonal qualities utilized by Be'lakor."

I came to read this article only to check if the writer would mention that. Many "respects".
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07.08.2016 - 00:34
Ikuinen
Godgory mixed with a heavy dose of Omnium Gatherum
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07.08.2016 - 17:53
Bad English
Masterchief
Opening part I say it suppose be in a past, we have new generation and there are more calmer, more non standart , non fit in metal chategory to be viizblie bands what takes this bands places. But I agree what you wrote about it, it was most overated band in ms in a past whit Gojira
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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07.08.2016 - 22:33
EmeraldSword
Of the eight tracks on this album, "An Ember's Arc," "Roots To Sever," and "The Smoke Of Many Fires" stand out. The rest, felt like filler, to be honest. Those three tracks though are amazing. I lost count to how many times I've replayed the two tracks "An Ember's Arc" and "The Smoke Of Many Fires." Perhaps the emotion that they evoke and the similarity in between is what keeps me coming back to them. In any case, I hope they don't wait another four years for their next release. Also, to someone above who said they aren't well known around the world, may have to do with the fact that their homeland is Australia. They are the only melodeath act I know from that region of the world. Although playing at musical festivals like Summer Breeze Open Air in Germany and Brutal Assault in Czech Republic certainly helps.
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Progress to not digress.
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08.08.2016 - 08:17
Teravolt_Danny
Good album, but I think I enjoyed the last two more.
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08.08.2016 - 16:40
qlacs
"The Quaker"
"dramatic atmosphere that cloaks these technically-impressive"

I like to color my reviews too, but let's get one thing straight: the music Be'lakor plays is not really technical. They have absolute great songwriting skills and they do pull some genuine riffs and melodies on this record which in and itself is impressive for a 4th record in a row in melodic death metal, but it does not make their playing highly adept technically.
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09.08.2016 - 14:16
Cy Nide
Just recently got into this band and been spinning of breath and bone a lot lately. I look forward to checking this out.
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10.08.2016 - 11:05
Daniell
_爱情_
Melodeath usually bores the hell out of me, but Belakor is one of those precious few bands that I actually enjoy. I'm not a huge fan, but it seems to me this could be one of their best albums.
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Now loving:
Hour of Penance - Cast the First Stone
Hate - Indestructible Pillar
Cradle of Filth - Heartbreak and Seance
Dark Tranquillity - Nothing To No One
Immolation - Swarm of Terror
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12.08.2016 - 22:48
Panterica
I find this album really hard to enjoy due to it's production. The guitars sound so soft and it's really getting on my nerves.
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Li'ed - Prog-Metal from Jerusalem
https://www.facebook.com/LiedBandMusic
http://lied-band.bandcamp.com/
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27.08.2016 - 23:08
Grom
Be'lakor have always created those albums that you can endlessly return to and get something new out of it every single time.
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Fear the slant eye.
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14.09.2016 - 20:36
NecroToxic666
Awesome! The band is a bit over-rated, but still good.
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20.03.2017 - 23:45
BlankFile
Amazing record, full of melody, misticism and power. I dig it.
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01.11.2017 - 16:55
metalriff
Written by Malignar on 06.08.2016 at 16:30

I don't get this band. Like an earlier Opeth with very few riffs, less heaviness...left with only melodic atmospheric noodling. The gruff vocals are pretty good, that's it. Hey at least they don't use those annoying In Flames Gothenburg riffs (what I picture whenever someone uses the term melodeath).


Try 'The Unborn' by Mors Principium Est...you may change your mind about Gothenburg (though even I haven't heard much of Gothenburg metal specifically)
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