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Bellrope - You Must Relax Award winner

You Must Relax
by Kimzi (Pixel Dreams) at 11 April 2019, 12:53 AM

From Mannheim, Germany, BELLROPE is introducing lovers of Doom to their debut release, "YOU MUST RELAX". This four-piece band dubs itself as "the total absence of tonal sanity" and they are not shy to share they have a "hell of a lot of amps and speakers". BELLROPE is not holding back and with three vocalists and two bassists hammering down on the listener, the result is a heavy, thick vapor that envelops its listeners. Gebbo Barome's guitar is essential to this release; it is heavy and with the addition of amps and feedback, it is dark and yet there is still something spirited about it that adds a great layer to this doom band. This release is a reminder that sometimes, one needs the storm before the calm.

The invitational track sets the scene and some will not make it, some will opt out prematurely because “Hollywood 2001/Rollrost” is chalked full of unforgiving feedback, ghostly shrills and the screams of a tortured soul. It serves as a preface to the next fifty-plus minutes. If you stick around long enough, and I suggest you should, this track will pass and seep into, "Old Overholt", which begins with a meaty bass riff that invites the rest of the band to chime in.

Luscious doom vocals begin to search the corners of your mind for that which lives in the darkness of yin while Marco Hauser sucks you down deeper. This is where I found myself in the doom-(head)banger stance. Gebbo Barome and amps add a contorted sound that reminds me of my evenings watching Freddy Krueger slide his finger-knives down the pipes in the boiler room. It is haunting, epic and beautifully sinister.

Marco Hauser and some more haunting noises march us into, "You Must Relax". Again, the thick vibrations by basses grumble through every pore. I love the guitar work on this track; it is fuzzy, dreamy and dark. The fluidity of instrumentation throughout the spoken word and the track wraps up with another session of heavy blows by Marco, Buzz and Micha who are leading us into, "TD200, a track that includes multiple vocalists, which are so powerful for a doom band and I really dig the overwhelming heaviness of it all. Somehow, BELLROPE keeps it interesting and maintains a glimmer of hope for the listener. Meaty bass lines lay a foundation for more sampling, screeches, etc. The handiwork of Marco Hauser in the back half of this track, is extraordinary. The spoken word is not a distraction, but it does appear to be backwards. All of this along with a screeching layer of Gebbo Barome's guitar is firing on all cylinders without becoming overwhelming.

"CBD/Herinunder" is going to wrap things up and it is in no rush. BELLROPEwants to settle up with a track that summarizes what they are thinking and where they are going. This nearly eighteen-minute odyssey is slow and steady and defines the band name, BELLROPE, so be prepared to grab on and ring like hell because you are going to need all hands-on deck. Just be sure you don't end up summoning the Kraken…

I am very impressed by this lengthy debut and what I appreciate about BELLROPE is their choice to leave space for instrumentation. Vocals are crucial, but not taking over and crowding the chaos. Even if growling is not your thing, it is not unmerciful. Maybe I am strange, but I did find this release to be relaxing. It is as heavy as it is dark and demented, but other than the first track, I never felt overwhelmed. I am excited to hear what lies ahead for this band and I am certainly scoring it with the opinion that this is a spectacular debut. If this is where they start, I certainly want to see where they are going. You may see this on my top-23 list of 2019. Listened. Reviewed. Purchased.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Hollywood 2001/Rollrost
2. Old Overholt
3. You Must Relax
4. TD200
5. CBD/Hereinunder
Gebbo Barome - Guitar, Vocals
Marco Hauser - Drums
Buzz Graeger - Bass, Vocals
Micha - Bass, Vocals
Record Label: Exile On Mainstream Records


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Edited 27 March 2023

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