Sound — 9
Be'lakor is a melodic death metal band with a strong progressive influence, very similar to In Mourning. The band draws their name from a demon character in the game Warhammer 40,000 and they remain relatively unknown to most. Upon first listening to the CD the band quickly makes up for the dorky origin of their name. The band is a melodic death metal band true to form, heavily distorted thunderous guitars, with barking and growling vocals, but maintaining a certain level of strong emotion and melody in their music. They are a bit more progressive than your basic death metal band; most of their songs feature multiple sections, solos and harmonies, as well as extensive use of pianos. The CD kicks off with Neither Shape nor Shadow which gives the listener a very good feel as to where the CD is headed. A catchy lead guitar plays over a heavily distorted guitar rhythm. Shortly after we are hit with a short piano break mixed with distorted guitars which gives way to George Kosomas demonic growl. Some listeners may be turned off by the term growl however I found that many of the lyrics are actually audible. The songs are often epic and beautifully written having the distorted guitar blend with piano only adds the complexity and soaring melody of the songs. The piano sections are exceptionally well done and fit in very well in my opinion, the piano break which occurs around 3:25 or so into the song Tre'aste is a perfect example of this. The album even features an almost entirely piano instrumental titled Paths. However the album is not short of more aggressive guitar driven songs such as The Desolation of Ares, which has a sort of thrash feel to it, parts of it feel very similar to something that might show up on an Amon Amarth album.
Lyrics — 7
The lead singer, George Kosomas, doesn't really pull out anything too tricky. The vocals sound similar to many melodic death metal bands today including Niilo Sevnen of Insomnium, or Johan Hegg of Amon Amarth. However the most striking resemblance would have to be Tobias Netzell of In Mourning. As I said while the singer does lean towards a death metal growl, often sounding like a grizzly bear, many of the lyrics I actually found somewhat audible. The lyrics often deal with myths or legends, specifically those that have to do with Roman and Greek mythology; this should be obvious by the song mentioned before titled Desolation of Ares. Other songs often have ambiguous meanings, and from what I can gather deal with society and problems they see in it. The lyrics are usually quite profound and not your usual brutal death metal lyrics, the band writes some pretty good thinking-mans lyrics. However the downfall of the lyrics is that fact that lead singer, George Kosomas, doesn't ever try anything. It's the continuous growl, which isn't a bad thing but when you write songs that are mostly over 6 minutes long it gets a bit repetitive.
Overall Impression — 9
As was mentioned before this album and band are definitely for fans of In Mourning or possibly Insomnium, however most any fans of melodic death metal will surely enjoy this band. What I really love about this album is how it's able to carry the epic feeling through out the entire album. Often you will find a CD, and just the first one or two songs build up the CD to be so much and you are often let down by filler songs or just boring songs in the middle of album. There is relatively little I hate about this album, at first I felt the similarities to In Mourning were too much, however once the CD gets going these similarities quickly fade. The six tracks featured on the album are very well executed and blend very well into each other. The mix of distorted guitars, acoustic sections, and piano breaks really keep the listener interested in the songs. As I stated before the singing could have some minor improvements, I just feel when you write such long songs you have to experiment with the singing and not just the music. Be'lakor delivers on most every level, and will hopefully continue to do so in the future, I think this band will only improve.