Belef - Infection Purification - 2005 - Candlelight Records
I saw this CD in my promo pile and thought "Great, another shitty Marduk Clone. Fun for me today"! I was dreading the thought of having to come up with variants of tried and true metal descriptors like "Brootal", "GRIM", and "Kvlt". How 'bout "Stoopid", "Asinine", and "don't make me laugh"?
Just glancing at the album cover and the promo sheet Candlelight sent over I knew I'd have to rehash the same old lame-ass internet jokes about satanic mimes, evil penguins, and sad, lonely, 20-something yr old males living in their mother's basements. There's no point in trying to come up with any new hyperbole with source material this threadbare.
Then, I actually listened to the cd...
Well, tickle my ass with a feather. The damn thing is really good. Sure, we've established that image-wise, Belef are your typical, black metal monochromatic morons. The artwork isn't controversial, its downright silly. I can't really understand the lyrics, but I'm sure they're sufficiently unpleasant and whatnot. However, I have to give it up: Belef have riffs. I'd go as far as saying that Belef are riff-tastic; or if you prefer, riff-erific. It must be their idiot savant's gift...
The promo sheet describes Belef as a mixture of Mayhem, Marduk, and Immortal, which is apt and misleading at the same time. You hear a description like that, and it would be perfectly understandable to imagine these guys riding on the big boys' coat tails, trying to get a bit of street cred by copping riffs and vibe from these bands' seminal works. This couldn't be further from the truth. "I hear more "Wolf's Lair Abyss" , "Panzer Division Marduk" , and "In the Heart of Winter" than I hear "De Mysteriis dom Sathanas", "Opus Nocturne", or "Pure Holocaust" in their sound. Believe me, that is a good thing. "
The music for the most part is a feral and relentless, with a riffing style that is sort of a cross between Mayhem's "Blasphemer", and Snorre Ruch. (Snorre Ruch, Aka Blackthorne, is mainly known for his part in early Mayhem infamy, but more importantly, from his own band - the forward-thinking Thorns.) However, some of the most enthralling music on this disc is where they back off the throttle a bit, and let the riff just groove. When they do that, it reminds me of Blut Aus Nord, another killer French BM band.
What we have here is a potent mixture of traditional & post modern black metal, a band actually using the advances made in this genre to move forward without resorting to the same pitfalls that many do, such as the overuse of keyboards, or incorporating electronica. Definitely recommended to those who dig Abyorm, Thorns, and Mayhem's newer output.
--Timmy D 03.08.05
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