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3.21 | 8 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2016


1. Luma (1:59)
2. An Ember's Arc (8:28)
3. Withering Strands (10:56)
4. Roots to Sever (7:05)
5. Whelm (7:19)
6. A Thread Dissolves (2:58)
7. Grasping Light (6:51)
8. The Smoke of Many Fires (9:29)

Total Time 55:05


- John Richardson / Bass
- Shaun Sykes / Guitars
- George Kosmas / Guitars, Vocals
- Steve Merry / Keyboards, Piano, Samples
- Elliott Sansom / Drums

Guest/session musicians:
- Julian Renzo / Additional programming, soundscapes

About this release

Format: CD
Label: Napalm Records
Release date: June 24th, 2016

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Melodic death metal seems to be one of those genres that can go one of two ways in my experience. There's the kind that's fast, epic and catchy despite itself, and then there's the kind that just comes across as generic, B-grade stuff designed for the masses to lap up that may be decent enough to listen to, but fails to make any lasting impression. Admittedly both of these groups may be doing exactly the same thing, it's just that some do it better than others. Every so often though there comes a group like Be'lakor of Australia, who try to create something more progressive out of their melodic death metal sound. Vessels (2016) is their fourth album.

That catches my attention, but being my first experience with Be'lakor's music, I went into this album not really sure what to expect. My first impressions were rather mixed. In fact if I'm honest pushing into the second half of the album I was actually starting to feel bored out of my tree. I'll be fair, having a bit of patience with it has allowed Vessels to open up to me enough for it to now hold my attention a bit better, but I can't say that I think my initial reaction was at all off the mark. The main impression I get from this release is that it's missing that certain special spark that transforms an album from being merely listenable to being something worth listening to. I have one main reason for saying that: even after a few listens there isn't really anything about Vessels that stays with me upon its conclusion.

Sure, the band are well playing enough and the growled vocals are decent and most importantly it does sound to be as if Be'lakor have tried to put some thought into their album, but it simply comes across as a miss hit, offering nothing of substance to drag me back into it. There are eight tracks here and even after a few listens I can't say I can tell you much about any individual piece as they have done nothing to be remarkable. For a melodic death metal band there aren't any real lyrical hooks of the kind artists like Arch Enemy or Scar Symmetry have delivered on their best records and while Be'lakor's music is somewhat progressive it's only enough for me to sit up and pay attention for a moment while listening to the album. It's simply not progressive enough for the album to be carried by its instrumental work and it's certainly not progressive enough to really justify the generally long track lengths that the band have served up here, most of which go by the seven minute mark with the exception of Luma and A Thread Dissolves.

Is Vessels a bad album? No, not really, but ask me about it tomorrow and I don't think I'll remember anything about it. Points for making a bit more of an effort than most I suppose, but at the end of the days Vessels is another one of those latter group melodic death metal releases that I won't ever feel inclined to listen to again.

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