Be'lakor
Coherence


4.2
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
November 2nd, 2021 | 149 replies


Release Date: 10/29/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An ode to consistency

Coherence, or the quality of being consistent, is among the virtues I cherish the most as it is often synonymous with balance and strong character. However, when applied to art, namely music, it may prove to be a double-edged sword, for while it can mirror stylistic consistency, it could also reveal creative stagnation. As a fan, I like to think Be'lakor belongs to the former niche. Although there has been a clear evolution since their debut album, The Frail Tide, the Aussie lads have always remained true to their musical foundations, rooted in bands like Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, or In Flames. Their multifaceted melodic death metal formula has gained new chromatics without ever losing touch with their origins. With each new step revealing growing musical maturity. 2016's Vessels represented the last stage of this evolutionary process, both chronologically and artistically. Its incursion into progressive grounds and ethereal surroundings placed the collective in new territories, pushing the boundaries of a genre often too rigid. This artistic boldness proved to be fruitful as it blossomed not only into the band's most ambitious release to date, but also into one of the best albums of the past decade.

As the title suggests, Coherence pursues the same familiar trail, but contrary to my original hopes it doesn't begin where Vessels left off, rather acting as a synopsis of the band's legacy. As if the boys were camping on a mountaintop, enjoying their life's journey. In fact, this imagery does have some contact with reality as the album's concept takes place on a mountain, where each of the songs explores the story of a different person on that very spot. Although it is not a linear narrative, with a beginning, middle, and end, as in Vessels, it is still an idea that ties all musical moments together, giving them a common ground. A song such as 'Hidden Window' somewhat mirrors this sense of past journey given its more straightforward nature that brings it closer to an album like Stone's Reach than Vessels. Its main palm muting syncopated riff evokes this old spirit while simultaneously embodying much of Be'lakor's trademark features. I would say Coherence is more riff-oriented than its predecessor whilst retaining some of its atmosphere. Although more diversified, 'Locus' and 'Foothold' also share this type of riffing so characteristic of the band. Which brings us back to the album title and what it musically represents.

Despite this bridging with the band's primordial foundations, Coherence features a number of "larger than life" segments that catapult it into sensory stratospheres. The epic endings of 'Much More Was Lost' and 'Valence' as well as the latter's main riff are the pinnacle of this majestic side, being among the best moments the band has ever recorded. The harmonic layers of 'Indelible' or the black metal-ish blasts in the opener and closing track are also among my personal highlights for different reasons: the former due to the sumptuous guitar interplay and the latter ones because of the contrast with the midtempo soundscape. Blast beat sections are something the band should use more often as they lend greater dynamism to a formula that rarely strays off the comfort zone. And as it turns out, it is indeed possible to introduce more rhythmic variation while maintaining stylistic coherence.

Jens Bogren's full-bodied mix is also somewhat of a throwback as it gives the album a fatter sound, closer to Of Breath and Bone, thus contrasting with Vessels' flat mixing. The robust sound engineering also boosted the rhythm section which is now more solid than ever, with 'Much More Was Lost' being its brightest moment. As expected, the quintet works in a perfect symbiosis, just like a team of old acquaintances where each one knows perfectly how to effectively contribute to the whole. This strong chemistry between a line-up that, with the exception of the drummer, remained unchanged since its conception is the band's X-factor and the reason why the album title makes perfect sense, whatever interpretation one might put on it.

Coherence is somewhat of an exercise of introspection on the band's journey. A moment of self-contemplation that gathers both past and present through a collection of familiar stories set on an imaginary mountain. While it doesn't take us into new territory, it is an ode to consistency. A delightful new chapter that deserves our utmost attention, as it is part of an epic tale that illustrates some of the best soundscapes the genre has ever produced.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Like previous albums it took me some extra time to digest it.

Coherence is available on all streaming platforms.

Digging: Obscura - A Valediction

Dedes
November 2nd 2021


8028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review my man, as per usual.

Strangely enough I do have to disagree with the blast beat statement however-when they come they're incredible, but I feel it is the bands sparse usage of them that makes them feel more destructive when they're there. That is not, however to say I'd be opposed to more blasting and beating.

rufinthefury
November 2nd 2021


3429 Comments


Im here for new Belakor for sure

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks Dedes.

Given that their songs have several distinct segments I wouldn't mind if they added a couple of additional blast beats. Without going into overdrive, of course.

Dedes
November 3rd 2021


8028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I could understand that. It would be a cool direction to see them taken on something more concise and punchy but w/e they do it's always gonna whip in some way.

Pikazilla
November 3rd 2021


19750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Summary is spot on

Muzz79
November 3rd 2021


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is spot on. The main riff on Hidden Window is a powerful piece especially when both guitars come in. It washes over you

Digging: Midnight Odyssey - Biolume Part 2 - The Golden Orb

leonardotardino
November 3rd 2021


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's impossible to dislike this band. Good review

SrpskiCekic
November 3rd 2021


90 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, sums it up very well. I like this more than Stone's Reach, I've yet to listen to their other stuff. Feels like a very well done mashup of Insomnium, Opeth and Agalloch, and others of that style.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Oh yes. This is the correct amount of spice on the front page.

Digging: Obscura - A Valediction

JayEnder
November 3rd 2021


11805 Comments


Yep, this officially rules.

Digging: Volumes - Happier?

Coldplaz
November 3rd 2021


145 Comments


Good album but did they really need 3 instrumental interludes?
First and last tracks are the best

metalphil
November 3rd 2021


228 Comments


Damn, this is pretty good, these guys are so consistent.

StormChaser
November 3rd 2021


973 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

did they really need 3 instrumental interludes?

Thought this too at first, but now I'm down with it given how epic the 5 non-instrumental tracks are. You need breathers to digest the songs.



Might be their best album yet, probs my favorite

Digging: Be'lakor - Coherence

Elynna
November 3rd 2021


1048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great writing Mr. Notrap, I always enjoy reading your thoughts. Album is a grower for me and gets better every consecutive listen.

Digging: Oado - Life Era

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2021


16982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks Monsieur Elynna. The album is definitely a grower.

Dedes
November 3rd 2021


8028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@coldplaz

At the very least I would be sad without Sweep of Days, I can say that much.

JanteIggy
November 3rd 2021


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I swear I will never get bored by this Be'Lakor signature yell "yeeeeeaah-awwww !".

Oh God it's impossible to explain how much I like this band! They are truly unique.

nash1311
November 3rd 2021


3524 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Vocalist of this band reminds me of Daniel from Bury Tomorrow, but this is my first time hearing them. Album is awesome

Digging: Der Weg Einer Freiheit - Noktvrn

MeatWolf
November 3rd 2021


225 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well this was a tough one



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