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Album Reviews : Be'lakor – Stone's Reach

By on June 22, 2009

stonesreach240Gaining masses of popularity in their local scene after the release of their debut record, Melbourne’s Be’lakor are back in 2009 with a stunning second release showcasing a matured and creative sound from the band – ‘Stone’s Reach‘. Recorded at Pennydrop Audio in Melbourne and mastered by Crystal Mastering, the band consists of George Kosmas (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Shaun Sykes (Lead Guitar), Steven Merry (Keyboard), John Richardson (Bass) and Jimmy Vanden Broeck (Drums).

First impressions are always critical, and with the acoustic introduction to the opening track ‘Venator’, the band sets the landscape on which ‘Stone’s Reach‘ is built on. It is consistent with the bands ideals, that of nature and its struggle between life and destruction. And it is this ideal that the band enforce in full throughout the album. Epic melodies, acoustic passages and well placed atmospheric key sections are beautifully countered by faster paced marauding distortion riffs.

There are many highlights on the album, and if tempted I could easily go through moment by moment and treat all fan boys and girls to a orgasm on every musical memory here provoked in this review, however for a broader view on the album, the band has shown some foresight into the melodic death metal genre. Critics could easily say “Look, the band has clear influences such as ‘x’ and ‘y’ bands”, and while I agree to some extent, it is the vision into the future that makes the Be’lakor so appealing. ‘Stone’s Reach‘ is where Amon Amarth should go next… it is a vision that sits equal to the Enslaved direction, but most of all, it is vintage Be’lakor, through and through.

Personal favourites of mine include ‘From Scythe to Sceptre’ which has probably the most interesting guitar section on the whole album (see 1:40 into the song), while other tracks such as ‘Sun’s Delusion‘ (6:11 = wow) and Countless Skies hold epic melodies to the core. The production of the album is also of stellar repute with Kosmas’ vocals the only critique from me, and only because they get somewhat lost in the powerful duel guitar mix. The only other slight downside on the album is a couple of rough segues which are frustrating because aside from these tiny glitches, I hear next to zero flaws on an album that could well be the pinnacle of 2009.

Experiencing these songs for the first time in a live environment was bliss, and on my arrival home and subsequent listening to the recorded version of Stone’s Reach, it is very safe to say that I am one very happy man, along with all the other Be’lakor obsessed metal heads out there! 9.2/10

Band: Be’lakor
Album: Stone’s Reach
Year: 2009
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Prime Cuts Music/Riot! Entertainment
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
http://www.myspace.com/belakor

Track listing:
1. Venator
2. From Scythe to Sceptre
3. Outlive the Hand
4. Sun’s Delusion
5. Held in Hollows
6. Husks
7. Aspect
8. Countless Skies (Reviewer’s Choice)

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