Be’lakor – The Frail Tide

Okay, at one point you realize that human tolerance for the world works in a pretty narrow spectrum. Because of the way we’re built, there are many more negative things than positive things. In the same way, there’s many more dissonant and atonal melodies than there are ‘normal’ melodies (though I’m not saying that dissonance or atonality are a bad thing). So it goes as a result to say that ‘normal’ melodies are getting pretty goddamn exhausted over thousands of years of human civilization and musical craftsmanship. I say this because Be’lakor has proven that theory dramatically with ‘The Frail Tide’. This is an album that rests solely on melodies that we’ve all heard a thousand times before, and the pleasant tingle of familiarity is hardly enough to keep any of us interested in this stuff anymore.

This album is really, really boring, even if it is rather professionally played and composed. Every note of this is something I’ve heard elsewhere and in at least a moderately interesting fashion. Be’lakor plays melodic death metal, but it’s a really tepid and overly moderate form of it that doesn’t really do anything. It’s all so tied to what the audience expects, or what the audience would like that it has absolutely no personality of its own. Melody after sugary, easy to digest melody flies through the music, each less memorable than the last, and while each is pleasant enough while it’s there, it offers nothing. This album is actually less than the sum of its parts. Everything is capable; the playing, the writing, the production, everything. But put it into action and it’s just unbelievably stale all the way through.

There’s a LOT of piano in these songs, so much that there apparently needs to be a six minute track dedicated to it. I think that I’ll say now that unless you’re Archaic, there is no circumstance ever where, on a metal album, a six minute piano track is necessary. Nor do we need more dramatic violin accompaniments over medium fast double bass and melodeath that just boils down to the same rock and roll conventions the genre has been rehashing ever since ‘The Gallery’ was stillborn onto the scene back in ’95. It all feels uninspired, and above and beyond that, it feels, quite simply, very dated. I would expect this sort of thing seven or eight years ago, but I thought we got past this sort of obsessive conventionality a while ago.

‘The Frail Tide’ isn’t actively bad. There are many albums I would much less like listening to. But even those ones I don’t like listening to would stick out in my mind as sucking, and Be’lakor doesn’t stick out in my mind in any way. It just feels really, really lazy, and the band can easily do better.

(originally written for http://www.vampire-magazine.com)

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~ by noktorn on October 28, 2007.

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