By John Mills
I stumbled into Be’lakor quite on accident. As it turns out, this Australian melodic death metal band named themselves after the original demon from the lore of Games Workshop’s Warhammer universes. That being said, I’m very glad I discovered them, because the band’s four albums are some of my favorite I’ve heard in the last five years. They combine excellent work with the standard guitars, basses and drums with pianos and other instrumentals to create a sound that can be both fast and heavy, then slow and thoughtful, before breaking back into the pounding rhythms that defines metal as a genre.
Be’lakor is probably not going to appeal to people who are not already fans of, or at least okay with, the basic standards of melodic death metal. The standout feature that will probably turn most people away from Be’lakor is that all of their lyrics are done in so-called “death-growls.” The aggressive and abrasive nature of this kind of singing turns a lot of people away from the genre. Be’lakor doesn’t mix death-growls with standard lyrics like some bands, and as a consequence, the words can be very difficult to understand. To compare them to a much more famous band, they sound like an Australian Amon Amarth. This is, in truth, an awful comparison, but probably the one that most people are likely to understand.
After Be’lakor released their first album in 2007, each subsequent album has defined their style yet further. As might be expected of a melodic death metal band, Be’lakor maintains a steady, albeit heavy and down-tuned, melody throughout their songs. This consistency has the benefit of making any of their songs instantly identifiable, while also making it difficult to discern just which is playing. Over the length of several nearly hour-long albums, it can become easy to get lost in the music, as it blends together with little difficulty, even on shuffle. As such, I find Be’lakor to be a great band to put on in the background while I work.
Taste will obviously differ widely, especially in regard to music. Many people who don’t regularly listen to metal will find Be’lakor far from their liking. Even amongst metal fans who generally listen to faster bands or bands with more legible vocals may not enjoy Be’lakor much. All that being said, if any of what has been described sounds appealing, give them a listen. Their entire discography is available on Spotify for free. For a band with as much raw musical talent as is on display, they are almost criminally under-played.