Be’lakor // Stone’s Reach
Rating: 4.5/5.0 – Excellent melodic death.. after all these years?
Label: Kolony Records (Europe)
Release Date: EU: 30.11.2009 | World: Out on iTunes
Be’lakor is an Australian melodic death metal band that has been getting some serious attention in the underground despite the fact that much melodic death metal has pretty much been declared by the scene to be dead on arrival. I’d been reading about them for some time so I just wrote them a message on MySpace and the guys were cool enough to send me a copy to review. And I can see why they’re so eager to get their music out to the masses, it’s a bit like ear heroin.
Quite the opposite of the many bands who have initially appealing music that after a while you never take out and listen to again (here’s looking at you Sonata Arctica‘s Silence), Stone’s Reach grew on me very slowly over the weeks that I’ve had it. The initial listens were definitely a “OK, sounds a bit like Opeth, Insomnium, and In Flames‘ lovechild, but I don’t get the hype.” Which was shortly followed by a stage where I realized that as I was listening to it I knew every riff and was singing along with them. This final stage was followed by me having the opening riff of “From Scythe to Sceptre” stuck in my head for two days and that was it, I was totally hooked.
Stone’s Reach has everything you want from good melodic death metal in this the late stages of the 00s.. it’s fast and catchy with solid melodies, great harmonies that aren’t too predictable and yet everything is just familiar enough (despite sounding unique) that you’re able to slip into it and enjoy it without having to spend too much time thinking about it. That’s not to say that there aren’t things to think about, I particularly enjoy the way that the rhythm section works together very well, reminiscent of Morningrise-era Opeth, it’s just that the music is catchy enough that you don’t have to think about it if you don’t want to.
Every track on here has something worth remembering and this record never falls into a rhythm that allows you to get lost in the songs as though they weren’t all separate entities. Instead, the band is very adept at writing and arranging and are able to create unique soundscapes and songs that you will remember and that you long to hear again. And with a clear, smooth production that doesn’t suffer from any of the downsides of modern production tricks and techniques (i.e., it sounds nothing like a record that you would expect to hear from a major label which seems to be enforcing a regimen of triggering on all of their bands these days), Stone’s Reach gives everything you want from a melodic death metal album without sounding rehashed or like a rip-off.
If you’re like me and suckled at the teat of melodic death metal as a young music fan, you probably also feel like the genre has lost its interest over time. Be’lakor lacks nothing and has everything except worldwide distro from a major label, so feel free to buy their record on iTunes or send check out their MySpace for info on where to buy it: you won’t regret it.