|The Belonging - Setting The Scene
01. Plague - Intro
02. Black Sun Rising
03. The Shell Documentary
04. The Calling
05. Dying In Sorrow
06. The Belonging
07. Dreaming Darkness
08. Setting The Scene
09. Resolved - Outro
I have received this album quite a while ago but I am happy that I didn't review it earlier. This is because were I to review it right away, I would probably have given it a very low rating of say, 3 or 4. Frankly, my first impressions of this record were not very good at all. Luckily for The Belonging, given some time I have learned to appreciate what they do a bit more and thus my final rating for the album is much higher and I suspect would be even higher for more hardcore fans of this type of music than I am.
The style that The Belonging represents is blackened death metal. I suppose a good comparison would be Dissection; however, The Belonging have a tendency to record much more dense songs that usually do not go out of their way to explore the textures and ambiance that the cold black metal aesthetic provides. Thus, throughout the album we mostly hear death metal riffs and song structures, extreme vocals that tend more towards the screeching of black metal than the growling of death metal and occasional black metal leads and atmospherics.
The band's biggest problem lies in how haphazardly most of the elements mentioned above are mixed together. Rarely does the band compose with the entire song in mind. Because of this, songs like "Black Sun Rising", "The Shell Documentary" and "The Belonging", while containing some strong musical ideas and melodies, ultimately fail to satisfy the listener due to their disjointed and patchy feel. Its as if the band wanted to stick in as many riffs into a song as they could, without paying much attention to how these riffs go together. Luckily, there are also songs on this album that do work very well as a whole. "Dying In Sorrow" starts with some rain sounds and a solitary electric guitar only to develop into a slow, dirge-like song that sounds quite epic and not entirely unlike doom metal. "Dreaming Darkness" also features a slower tempo that gives the instruments more room to breathe. The title track, while still sounding a bit chaotic, manages to be entirely satisfying due to the quality of the riffs and melodies that appear in it.
Finally, there is the production. Don't get me wrong, I am no enemy of the intentionally raw production that many black metal bands have; however, such a sound does not make much sense in the case of fairly technical death metal. This is why I was so unimpressed with the band's music when I first heard it. Luckily, one can get used to this sort of production and the album does also contain parts where the rawness is used to complement and augment the music.
The band needs to work on their compositional chops; however, even as it is, this album is not bad at all and fans of the style would not be making a mistake if they bought it.
Written on 30.10.2005 by
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.