Rating:
9.0
Be'lakor - Stone's Reach
20 June 2009


01. Venator
02. From Scythe To Sceptre
03. Outlive The Hand
04. Sun's Delusion
05. Held In Hollows
06. Husks
07. Aspect
08. Countless Skies


After hearing and reviewing the first offering of Melodic Death Metal from Australia's Be'lakor I found it to be a rather promising debut. The promise wasn't misplaced either as the band have backed themselves up rather nicely with this new album entitled Stone's Reach. While their previous release The Frail Tide was good, the new album is cleaner production-wise and I think a deeper piece of work as well.

Stone's Reach actually begins surprisingly softly. Ambience with soft cymbal taps and soothing guitar notes lull the listener into going along with something soft and simple. Not before too long however heavy guitars and harsh growls take over. The introduction to this first song however is perhaps an indication that while this is Melodic Death Metal, it's somehow a work of dark beauty. Stone's Reach is filled with examples of clever changes of pace, mournful solo-esque guitar work and extraordinary melodies; all of this coming from an album which is of a type of Death Metal.

It's one thing to write a good piece of music though, it can all fall apart if it isn't executed properly. Well Be'lakor has shone through in that department as well. The drumming is as technical as it needs to be and the guitar work contains the right amount of heaviness for each scenario in each song while being all the time well performed. The keyboards/ambience and piano of Steven Merry is applied better this time around. It adds that extra layer to the songs when it entwines with them. The harsh guttural growled vocals could fit in with Brutal Death Metal music but yet they don't seem out of place here either. The song (or rather opus) "Countless Skies" exemplifies all the good parts of Stone's Reach. It starts slowly with a brilliant and deep guitar riff (which later features as a kind of solo) and just builds up with ambience and technical piano work. Launching with double bass drumming and fast guitar work doesn't detract from the splendour this song seems to contain. This song would have to be my favourite on Stone's Reach which is handy as it concludes the album leaving good thoughts of the album.

Stone's Reach isn't as much a good piece of Melodic Death Metal as it is a piece of art. Despite the music feeling very much this way, the cover art, back cover and booklet imagery is all a good representation of this work. Be'lakor have created a piece of dark and delightfully melodic Death Metal that you won't want to pass up the chance to hear.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Be'lakor
Album: Stone's Reach


 


written by Raiden | 02.10.2009

Guest review by
Njord

Rating:
8.2
When I listened to this album for the first time my first thought was "this is clearly melodic death, but there's something about it", something that marks the line between another copy and a new way of design from the same prototype. Despite the guitars following Gothenburg death metal, one innovation of this band is the demarcation of that style because there's no chorus/verse imposed law, there's no fear of falling into doom or entering solos at low speed. It's very important to be creative inside the musical genres and this Australian group achieve it in a brilliant way.

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published 18.09.2009 | Comments (9)



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Troy Killjoy - 02.10.2009 at 11:05  
Favorite album of 2009 thus far, and I don't see my opinion changing any time soon.
3dd - 02.10.2009 at 23:05  
Brilliant album, one of the best of the year. "Aspect" is my favorite track.
flamey - 02.10.2009 at 23:12  
Nice review, I'll check this out then.
MetalSpider - 03.10.2009 at 01:28  
This is a great album by an underrated band! These guys are really good!
Dominus - 03.10.2009 at 01:39  
Great Album
Devilspeed - 03.10.2009 at 01:59  
I'm a little embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Be'lakor until a couple weeks ago. Had listened to 'Sun's Delusion' on their myspace page and it really impressed me. So, after hearing a lot and reading much about it, I decided to order. Maybe it was my low expectations but the entire album fucking blew me away. I must have played it 3-4 times straight. Much better than their debut, which I immediately looked into after 'Stone's Reach'. I've listened to a lot of good shit this year but Persefone's 'Shin-Ken' and this are by far what have stood out the most for me.
Valaskjalf - 03.10.2009 at 02:09  
Very good album, bit of a mix between insomnium/opeth/amon amarth (their good bits). Pity the album doesnt get the recognition it deserves due to a bunch of fucktards giving it a 1/10 just for the sake of getting THEIR favourite bands placed higher in the year's rankings. Very childish....but anyway enough ranting, awesome album, refreshing and one of the best melodic death albums of the year.
Big E - 03.10.2009 at 02:23  
Amazing. Got their debut album after listening to this 4 or 5 times straight and was just as impressed. Best of 2009 so far.
bloodwrage - 03.10.2009 at 03:24  
Good review. I like the last line, I think it reflects the album well. "dark and delightfully melodic"
Ozman - 04.10.2009 at 14:19  
Okay album, played well and all but nothing spectacular about it. Problem is they play a style that has been done to death and it is impossible for them to stand out and grow above the melodic death metal masses.
dismaleuphony - 05.10.2009 at 07:20  
Had to check this one out after all the talk, and two positive reviews... but while I find it a good listen from start to end, no bad points, good musicianship, I really don't see what all the excitement is about. Outside of some offbeat arrangements, I've heard most all the ideas before, and don't find the vocals so unique. They have some potential to break the mold, but I just am not seeing it yet.
BestMetalstormer - 08.10.2009 at 19:31  
Very brilliant, they use instrumentals, specially, piano or keyboard better than some band I know like Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. Excellent music
Janne - 11.10.2009 at 02:25  
Which one is the best song on the album?
Raiden - 11.10.2009 at 08:03  
In my opinion it's "Countless Skies".
Diabolos - 11.10.2009 at 12:15  
Yeah, I would also say "Countless Skies", that song is just awesome!
Morphis - 13.10.2009 at 04:06  
I also liked this album one of my favorites of this year.

Hard to choose the best song "Countless Skies" is definitely a very good one, such is "From Scythe To Sceptre".
This album as no bad/boring song for me, very good alignment.
Dark Cornatus - 14.10.2009 at 02:07  
I love this album, ive never been big on most melo death bands (such as Amon Amarth, who i find terrible). There are ones i like though, just not alot.
I think ive found my favourite. The melody in this band is an incredible journey, its so relaxing to the ears! The vocals are very like Amon Amarth, and i wont say i find them amazing for my personal tastes, but the music as a whole blends them in nicely.

I really love Sun's Delusion as a favourite.
warrior_of_ice - 14.10.2009 at 18:39  
This album is a tough rival for Insomnium's "Across The Dark" for my fav. album of the year
MétalNoir - 14.10.2009 at 21:44  
Brutal Death vocals in the line of Cannibal Corpse suck, can't stand it...
Metal Grinder - 21.10.2009 at 20:35  
A brillant piece of work here - an album that clearly stands out among the sea of bland in the metal world over the past year or so. The arrangements, vocals and overall production are simply outstanding - enough to bring me out of the ether void and actually register on this site to state this is one of the best albums start to finish I have heard in a very long time - and I go back to the early days of NWOBHM. A ten out of ten for me and I hope these guys get some recognition - they clearly have done their homework here and deserve it - plain and simple. I appreciate albums that have pushed the artists - like SepticFlesh "Communion" for example. Anyways my two cents...
hobaleo - 03.11.2009 at 02:16  
Perfect album.
-N- - 03.11.2009 at 09:24  
One of the best album of 2009!!!!
"From Scythe To Sceptre" is my favorite track.
Sleeping Dragon - 14.11.2009 at 06:19  
Though I've only listened to the entire album once over, I find it to be extremely well-written and composed. Definitely in my top ten favorite releases for 2009, but probably not in my favorite top three. Still, I highly recommend it.

Also, the reviewer states:

"Stone's Reach isn't as much a good piece of Melodic Death Metal as it is a piece of art."

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that all metal is art.
Maxx666 - 09.12.2009 at 20:20  
This album truly embraces the beauty of dark atmospheres, kind of reminds me the atmosphere of Lord of the Rings
warrior_of_ice - 10.12.2009 at 09:29  
Album never gets boring
Konrad - 10.12.2009 at 09:35  
I like the Album, but it didn't seem to stick. Musically it's great, but it just hasn't intrigued me as much as other albums this year have. 8.5
ROMIL - 11.12.2009 at 00:56  
Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gib_AWX0HPA
Panterica - 26.12.2009 at 12:44  
Wow, I started with Countless Skies, it's such a great song.
Mr.Tugboat ;) - 01.03.2010 at 07:53  
I prefer my finnish melodeth, and im aussie , ok album
Deadmeat - 06.03.2010 at 18:57  
Great review... this album is very good. these guys look to have a lot potential...
Raiden - 07.03.2010 at 05:21  
Thanks

Yeah they could become quite a well known band here and overseas if they continue to make such good albums.
BestMetalstormer - 26.07.2010 at 19:15  
More on doom melodic.
Bushwookie - 06.09.2010 at 19:49  
This band is starting to pick up popularity.

I added the drummer to facebook and I talk to him sometimes about random stuff and he says that their shows are getting bigger and bigger!
Wishmaster - 06.09.2010 at 23:25  
I would very much compare them to Insomnium, but Insomnium is better, imo.
I really love this album. What a masterpiece! I'm looking forward to their next album.
MechanisT - 10.12.2010 at 00:50  
At first I wasn't very much into the album, too many obvious influences in the music...gave them a chance and listened to it again...not any better...after 20+ listens...something started happening...well what do you know!? Really like it now...this is a REAL grower, but I do appreciate it more with a lot more zest.

Might I also add that the lyrics are really cool and adds to the strength of the songs.

Fav tracks: the mighty 'Countless Skies', followed by 'Sun's Delusion' and 'Venator'...
Vikingr - 04.02.2011 at 03:27  
I loved this album. I would definatley recommend it for fans of ass kicking melo death metal.
MétalNoir - 16.02.2011 at 16:20  
Written by MétalNoir on 14.10.2009 at 21:44

Brutal Death vocals in the line of Cannibal Corpse suck, can't stand it...

Ha ha I was so stupid saying that, this album is pure art and the vocals are as soothing as deathgrowls can be.
Troy Killjoy - 16.02.2011 at 17:31  
Written by MétalNoir on 16.02.2011 at 16:20

Written by MétalNoir on 14.10.2009 at 21:44

Brutal Death vocals in the line of Cannibal Corpse suck, can't stand it...

Ha ha I was so stupid saying that, this album is pure art and the vocals are as soothing as deathgrowls can be.

Glad to hear you came around. ;P This is one of my all-time favorite albums, and I think the vocals are impeccable.
Deadmeat - 16.02.2011 at 19:04  
Written by MétalNoir on 16.02.2011 at 16:20

Written by MétalNoir on 14.10.2009 at 21:44

Brutal Death vocals in the line of Cannibal Corpse suck, can't stand it...

Ha ha I was so stupid saying that, this album is pure art and the vocals are as soothing as deathgrowls can be.

i'd say "glad to see someone turning back and saying that he made a mistake", so few people do that! this album is great!
Powerslavex - 06.09.2011 at 20:35  
Sounds brilliant cant wait to listen to it!!
Shaddy - 28.10.2011 at 20:00  
This album is a masterpiece. It has been my favorite thing to listen to for quite some time now. There isn't much i don't like about it, and whatever songs i'm not deeply in love with, i like a lot.

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