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Album Reviews : Be’lakor – Vessels

By on July 12, 2016

572304There’s a clear line of progression from 2007’s The Frail Tide through to 2012’s Of Breath and Bone, with Be’lakor perfecting their upbeat, riff-driven style of melodeath. And while Vessels still has that distinct Be’lakor sound, it’s an unexpected twist on their formula.

Immediately obvious from the 2 minute opener “Luma”, which is surprisingly a short song rather than an intro piece, and the acoustic-driven “An Ember’s Arc”, Vessels is a moodier, darker album. And sure they have always leant towards the more progressive end of melodeath but never more so than here; the song structures are more unusual, there’s a big jump in the amount of acoustic guitars used, “The Smoke of Many Fires” has a touch of electronics, and just listen to those choral female cleans over a funky baseline during “Withering Stands”.

George’s vocals deserve a special mention too. The guy has always had a fantastic roar but the spoken growls throughout Vessels are a great touch, and overall he sounds more powerful than ever during the bigger moments.

In between all those new touches and flourishes though is that fists-in-the-air Be’lakor that people know best. The first half of “Roots to Sever” is prime headbanging material and “Withering Strands” is just asking for some invisible orange when it hits its stride early on.

Vessels was a bit of a shock at first but in hindsight now is the right time for the guys to expand their sound to keep things fresh, and they have nailed it.

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.