Be'lakor
Stone's Reach


4.5
superb

Review

by Crimson USER (60 Reviews)
July 23rd, 2009 | 195 replies | 25,230 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: epic compositions within a progressive death metal context, breathtaking

11 of 11 thought this review was well written

After creating their breakout debut album, the (almost) universally critically acclaimed The Frail Tide, Australian melodic death metallers Be'lakor had a problem that has plagued many a band in their situation. Just how the hell do you top your debut album? With it being their first, the notion that certain people may have given them the benefit of the doubt is one that will be completely eradicated on the follow-up. They've got feedback, received praise and criticism and as a band they are expected to follow up with something even more gargantuan and epic, and it's only natural. Fortunately, it seems that Be'lakor have their own expectations with their release, and I'll be damned if they haven't met them.

What Be'lakor have done with Stone's Reach is nothing particularly new or different than The Frail Tide, but as a band they've expanded upon their sound (on several levels), tightened up, and although it may seem almost harsh, just simply written better songs than on their debut. Although it may seem a little early to say that a band has matured on only their second outing, but this album really gives the impression that Be'lakor have learned a lot from their first album, expanding upon ideas, cutting out the bad and improving upon the good, it's a remarkable achievement for a still very young band to show such restraint and flair in their songwriting.

On the whole, the song's are longer, more progressive, more dynamic and simply more substantial than those on The Frail Tide. There are the usual soft to loud transitions that you would expect to hear from this sort of melodic/progressive death metal band but beyond that there are so many layers and different levels of rhythmic dynamics that songs flow at a never static pace. There's a huge complexity to the band's arrangements that puts them above and beyond most of their peers, making each song come across as a simply colossal and cinematic metal experience, the like that many classic albums are built upon.

Unlike a lot of the melodic death metal bands that dominate the scene, Be'lakor don't focus on their rhythmic section. While the riffs and melodies are beyond superb they never carry the song, instead always being another instrument in telling the epic poems in song form that the band excel at performing. You can tell that the band don't really focus on creating a 'song', the tracks come across as more of separate compositions, each one having a huge amount of layers that build up and come together to create one large fully formed structure. Songs ebb and flow with separate climaxes and never rely on a gimmick or a catchy riff to carry them or keep the listener interested.

This sort of feel and mood evokes the soul of legendary bands like Garden of Shadows and early Opeth, which is further compounded by the deep, commanding vocal performance that really helps the haunting atmosphere with dark and poetic lyrics, bringing about the feel of telling a long lost tale that the music really brings to life (Gaping in mirth, his old eyes spoke / Where you are now – I once was / And what I am – you soon will be / Nothingness awaits you). These lyrics are brought to life with brilliant dynamics and really stand out keyboard and piano arrangements in the music. Sometimes almost Dark Tranquillity-esq in their delivery, but more most of the time something a lot more epic and natural, they really build a atmosphere that harkens back to the roots of nature and brings a really poetic and mythic feel to the music.

This sort of complex composition instead of catchy or attention grabbing music in the end will push some people away. Stone's Reach is an atmospheric and engrossing experience. It's a dark and beautiful album which bears it's strength on atmosphere and it's compositions more than any particular stand out element which might push people with less of an ear for this type of metal away, and that's merely subjective. For people who enjoy long, epic compositions within a progressive death metal context, Stone's Reach is a one of the best modern examples of the scene.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Crimson
July 23rd 2009



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what d'ya mean 'fanboy'?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2009



15988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was wondering when you were going to review this. Nice work and I agree with this review more. That acoustic passage in "From Scythe To Scepter" contains one of the best acoustic pieces I've ever heard. This album is just all-around solid.

Digging: Thergothon - Stream From The Heavens

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This completely rapes The Frail Tide. And the guitar rythmns in Aspect fuckin rule face. Countless Skies is also damn good.

Yazz_Flute
July 23rd 2009



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album has grown off me but it's still great. The Frail Tide is a lot more enjoyable imo.

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really? The only good song on there was Tre'Aste.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2009



15988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think everything but the last two songs on The Frail Tide were brilliant. The last two were very boring.

Yazz_Flute
July 23rd 2009



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Neither Shape Nor Shadow and A Natural Apostasy are Be'lakor's two best songs imo, and Tre'aste comes in at 4th after "From
Scythe to Sceptre" imo. Paths is a brilliant interlude, Sanguinary is a strong closer (Though Countless Skies is better). The
Desolation of Ares is the only song in which I find drags in parts. I love From Scythe to Sceptre, Countless Skies, and Outlive the
Hand here, but all the other songs (barring the interlude) bore me in spots now. Plus The Frail Tide as a whole is much easier to
listen to.

BallsToTheWall
July 23rd 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love how nobody on sputnik agrees with anybody. It's beautiful though and independent.

Crimson
July 23rd 2009



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wtf is going on with your keyboard bodom

and yeah gotta say i'm liking this more than the frail tide and i bummed over the frail tide

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2009



15988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wouldn't say this is better, it's about on par or maybe just a tad worse.

Yazz_Flute
July 23rd 2009



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apparently that happens whenever you edit your posts.

lobby
July 23rd 2009



1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

TFT>>>>SR

fireaboveicebelow
July 23rd 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

people really need to raise their expectations

jingledeath
July 23rd 2009



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review, this is better then TFT

Ire
July 24th 2009



41453 Comments


So I'm the only metalhead on this site that has not heard this?
Good review, I'll check this out.

Zip
July 24th 2009



5313 Comments


I'm currently asking myself why I don't have this...

Jim
July 24th 2009



5110 Comments


i'm not compelled. i liked the frail tide but i don't really want more of the same

Motiv3
July 24th 2009



8418 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

need this album.

CharlestheMute
July 24th 2009



73 Comments


i don't

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2009



8221 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good review Crimson *the rest of this post has been edited to hide my past ignorance*

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht



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