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Be’Lakor – Coherence

Be’Lakor
Coherence
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 29 November 2021, 6:19 AM

BE'LAKOR is an Australian melodic death metal band who formed in 2004. "Coherence" is their fifth studio album. The band has no qualms about throwing prog elements into their sound and this latest effort continues the trend. I am a late comer to Be'Lakor, not discovering them until their masterful 2016 release "Vessels." Of course, five long years have passed since that so I've had plenty of time to digest their work.  I think I'm in the minority but I find "Vessels" and "The Frail Tide" to be their best albums. Unfortunately, "Coherence" is an album of maddeningly inconsistent song writing. To me, some of the band's best moments are presented here but overall it is disappointing. In the end, it was not worth the five year wait.

The biggest issue I have with it? The huge amount of filler on the album. It has eight tracks but three of them are a complete waste of time. When listening to the album straight thru, they fit in somewhat better with the album's over all sound but if any of these tracks were removed, nothing from the album would be lost. Of course, the band always fills their albums with these filler type tracks but here they just seem incredibly unnecessary. The first of these tracks is "The Dispersion" which is a short interlude that goes absolutely no where. It may have worked better as the album's intro but for some reason it has been shoved between ten minute and seven minute long songs and it just doesn't make sense to me.

"Sweep Of Days," is also another instrumental but this one is full length. It is also fully boring without one interesting moment in the entire five minute and seventeen second run time. The third track of pointlessness is yet another instrumental called "Indelible," which is anything but.  Much like "Sweep Of Days," this track has so much wasted potential; it too goes no where. So that leaves us with five long tracks but they are hit or miss. "Locus," opens up the album and is over ten minutes in run time. While I don't hate it, there are no big moments that make me say "Wow! I want to hear again!" After the song is over, it is hard to remember anything remarkable about it.

Part of that reason is the vocals. I'm not sure exactly what it is but the vocals bug the hell out of me. There hasn't been a change of singer and he sounds more or less the same as previous albums but….he just sounds bored on the entire album, as if he recorded this as some sort of obligation rather than from passion. The use of spoken word is way over done too, especially since he sounds garbled and incoherent. The guitars are another issue. The riffs are bland and the melodies uninteresting.  As far as opening tracks goes, this one is more of a whimper than a banger.

The rest of the album's first half, I won't go into further as how I feel about "Locus" sums them up as well: long songs that do little to justify their lengths. But there is light at the end if the tunnel. Both "Hidden Window" and "Much More Is Lost" are two of the best songs the band has done. "Hidden Window" opens with clean guitar and bass that stretches out over the landscape before melodic riffs settle in. The vocals patterns work alongside the rhythm section perfectly. The clean and heavy guitar work in tandem and help build up mounting action that leads to a wonderful melodic bridge that is followed by a beautiful guitar solo as the music increases to a frenzy.

The final track, "Much More Is Lost" is quite possibly the best song the band has written. It i so frustrating that such a masterpiece of a song is on such a bland album.  But it does keep it from getting a lower album and gives it a last chance at redemption. The song is immediate, urgent and the beginning  makes the anticipation to hear the rest nearly palpable. The clean keys work wonders with the vocals and thick riffs. Throughout the song, lead guitar is emotional and presents a tone that rides that line between sweet and sorrow. Halfway through the song, a solo rips through the atmosphere. After it ends the drums dance around a melodic passage before the song gains sudden speed and aggression. See? This is one of those big moments missing from the rest of the album. Where are you? WHERE ARE YOU?

Ahem. The last few minutes are classic melodic death that mixes with what the band is best at: atmosphere and melody swirling with a progressive mindset. In the end, "Coherence" has a couple of bright spots and the two aforementioned  songs save it from being terrible. Unfortunately they don't save it from being average and  he worst album the band has done—a red mark in what was a flawless discography.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Locus
2. The Dispersion
3. Foothold
4. Valence
5. Sweep Of Days
6. Hidden Window
7. Indelible
8. Much More Was Lost
Lineup:
John Richardson - Bass
Shaun Sykes - Guitars (Lead)
George Kosmas - Guitars, Vocals
Steve Merry - Piano, Synths
Elliott Sansom - Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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