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Belenos - Argoat

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 July 2019, 11:44 AM

Hailing from Northern France, BELENOS was formed as a one-man band in 1995. “Belenos” is the Celtic God of the Sun. From their webpage, “the music of BELENOS is like a lonely journey through wild, dark moors, and old traditions of the Celtic lands. Loïc has been at it a long time, as “Argoat” is his eighth full-length release. As a live act, the band consists of Loïc Cellier (vocals and guitar), Sven Vinat (guitar/backing vocals), Yohann Mahe (bass/backing vocals), and Marc Le Gall (drums). “Argoat” contains nine new tracks.

“Karvden” leads off the album. It opens with dark tones, leading to screams and that “wall of sound.” Eventually, the riff settles into a mid-tempo cadence. An ambient passage towards the end is absolutely beautiful, led by clean vocal chants. “Bleizken” opens with the howl of a lone wolf. Raging vocals ensue. The riff changes here and there, keeping the listener on their toes. This is some creative Black Metal for sure. “Argoat” features some more riff changes and some clean vocals as well. The Black Metal vocals are incensed with rage and anger.

“Nozweler” opens with clean guitar tones and a solemn and thoughtful feeling. But, the chaos comes fairly quickly afterwards, mixing in clean guitars with distorted ones. I’m amazed at how many different riffs they present here, but they all make sense. “Huelgoat” opens with some melody in the guitars. But then the harrowing sound comes in. Some more of the clean vocals and some melody come in at times, but this is a frightening sound overall. “Dishualder” opens with some solemn chanting and the feeling that a ritual is about to be undertaken. Some folky elements are mixed in with the Black Metal elements, creating a totally unusual listening experience.

“Duadenn” opens with low and slow crawl, like a beast is lurking in the shadows. The main riff is downtuned and the vocals create a scary sound. It ends with a clean guitar passage that leads into a distorted one of the same type. “Steuziadur” opens with slow clean guitars that turn deadly pretty quickly. The riff is absolutely commanding. It turns dark as the half-way mark approaches, and then some clean vocals enter. It’s an interesting combination. “Arvestal” is a shorter closer, showing the band’s softer or more introspective side. It sound sad and lonely, like you are the last person on earth, wandering eternally.

BELENOS has been at it a long time, and not being familiar with them, I have no basis for comparison. I enjoyed the album however. They have created a niche for themselves while still retaining their Black Metal roots from the 1990’s. They incorporate different elements into the mix as well, like clean vocals and some melody. The harrowing moments are totally harrowing, but the clean and ambient moments are like a fresh breath of air. Well done!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Karvden
2. Bleizken
3. Argoat
4. Nozweler
5. Huelgoat
6. Dishualder
7. Duadenn
8. Steuziadur
9. Arvestal
Loïc Cellier – All
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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