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Belus - Apophenia

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 05 January 2018, 8:01 AM

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, comes the Black Metal trio BELUS. Formed in 2010, the band previously released two demos, an EP and a split, and now present their debut full-length here titled “Apophenia,” which contains seven tracks. In mythical lore, “Belus” always represents a great King. “Apophenia” means “the tendency to attribute meaning to perceived connections or patterns between seemingly unrelated things.”

“Chasm” leads off the album. The opening is dark and murky, with a muffled production and varied drum work, before that wall of sound hits hard. The meter is hard to follow amidst the controlled chaos but there is definitely some nimble songwriting here. The vocals are anguished screams in the tradition of the genre. “Monolith” opens with an eerie swing, and an almost jovial mood, like something out of place. But the shadows don’t stay hidden for long. It’s like watching dusk slowly descend upon a little hamlet, when the creatures of the nearby forest come out seeking bloodlust. Once again there are unconventional chord structures and a sense of pervading supernatural. “Avarice” means extreme greed for wealth or gain. The song structure lends itself well to this description. You can hear anger, and a fire burning within; a heavy dissonance with resolve.

“Illusions” has a harrowing sound. It might be closer to the more traditional sound we have from the genre’s forefathers, but still retains a lot of their own personality, from the unique chord progressions to the meter shifting. “Psychosis” is the more gut-wrenching despair and despondence; a depressive affair that you might expect when discussing the subject of the song title. “Omens” has a hypnotic entrance that slowly descends in key into the very depths of hell. It pulls you down slowly, choking you with noxious fumes as gnarled hands reach up and pull on your feet; there is no escape. Once they have you in their grip, hell fires begin to roast you. “Equilibrium” is the long, nearly eight-minute closer. Besides the pure evil and hatred that spews from the vocals and instruments, there is once again an element of something exclusive and particular to this album.

I think we should officially introduce “The Third Wave of Black Metal” and discuss bands as BELUS within that movement. Black Metal has diversified greatly over the past decade, perhaps more so than any other subgenre. A once very narrow genre of music, the variations hear today are all over the map. On “Apophenia,” we are treated to a very individual interpretation of Black Metal. It’s more depressive and hopeless sounding for me; a quality of Doom that runs through the tracks that is utterly deplorable. You also don’t often hear overly strong musicianship in the genre, but BELUS are here to prove otherwise. They are skilled musicians and their craft is impressive.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Chasm
2. Monolith
3. Avarice
4. Illusions
5. Psychosis
6. Omens
7. Equilibrium
Matt Mewton – Guitars, Vocals
Lesley Wolf – Bass, Vocals
Jacques Johnson – Drums
Record Label: Vendetta Records


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