Be'lakor - Vessels


by Matt Hensch

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Be'lakor seems to find joy in taking melodic death metal in a challenging direction. I'm not referring to technical ability, either; their songwriting mechanics are more emotionally detailed than the Black Dahlia Murders who all linger creepily around At The Gates and others. It is relieving that Be'lakor willingly avoids the artistic pitfalls of melodic death metal altogether, and thus, they've been able to map out their own oasis within a creative wasteland. "Vessels" takes the torch from "Of Breath and Bone" and runs further into the fog of what has become Be'lakor's rich and introspective style. "Vessels" invokes a journey of magic and self-discovery amid isolation and tragedy, far from the juvenile, insipid nonsense that usually takes on this musical blueprint.

"Vessels" is an expansion of the "Of Breath and Bone" paradigm, a solid move considering there is still much to discover within its sanctuary. Rather than continue milking the formula applied on its predecessor, "Vessels" ventures beyond the set musical perimeter by exploring its inherited musical philosophies. The ethereal, atmospheric components are rich with soothing guitar notations and poignant melodies, creating a dualistic soil in which the songs are planted. The courses of the unhurried melodies give a sense of buoyancy to anthems that attract a congregation of musical sections; these tracks are fairly long, obviously. Be'lakor often jumps from the floating force of their cloudy melodies onto more electric parts, such as blast beats and up-tempo melodic death metal surges. The contexts of their identity create plenty of imaginative exploration.

An important feature to mention is Be'lakor is easily identifiable. The low, cavernous growls are a vital piece of the Be'lakor machine, a big surprise to the uninitiated given how much depth they provide in a setting that is almost contradictory to such death metal vocals. I've always been astonished by the band's rhythm section, which is more adept and involved in the general goings-on than the average melodic death metal squad. The bass lines and undertones help set and control tempo shifts while maintaining its integral part in the voyage, be it violent or dreamlike. "Vessels" provides familiar antics, but Be'lakor's natural inclination to spice up their multifaceted, meaningful melodies with death metal motifs makes for a bottomless well of magic, a sound in chains given a free soul.

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Be'lakor - Vessels
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