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Be'lakor - Coherence review

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Band: Be'lakor
Album: Coherence
Release date: October 2021

01. Locus
02. The Dispersion
03. Foothold
04. Valence
05. Sweep Of Days
06. Hidden Window
07. Indelible
08. Much More Was Lost

Based on the pattern of their releases so far, we can expect the follow-up to Coherence in 2027, offering plenty of time in which to enjoy Be'lakor’s latest beast of a record.

The trend I’m referring to above is the additional year that has appeared in the gap between each subsequent release, with albums in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2016 and now 2021. Be'lakor aren’t necessarily the most active band, but their track record to date is highly impressive as far as melodeath fans are concerned, particularly those more inclined towards the melancholic Finnish strain. Coming from Australia, Be'lakor aren’t a part of that scene, and their evocative melodeath has more of a progressive and technical slant to it than the likes of Insomnium or Omnium Gatherum, but the Australians imbue plenty of emotional heft into their music, and the resulting output thus far has been so strong that, in a year featuring new releases from Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, In Mourning, At The Gates and more, Coherence is arguably the most anticipated melodeath record of 2021.

In terms of what listeners can expect from Coherence, first impressions are ‘much the same as previously’; at a broad level, the emphatic riffs, striking lead guitar riffs and melodies, and sprawling songwriting that have characterized the band’s work to date are all present on this new record, again capped off by George Kosmas’ coarse growls. There’s certain elements that are noteworthy here, such as the inclusion of the band’s longest song to date (closer “Much More Was Lost”) and two of the band’s most developed all-instrumental tracks thus far (“Sweep Of Days” and “Indelible”), but Coherence is not going to be a shock to the system for established fans of the band; everything that you’ve come to like or love (or hate, in a subset of cases) about Be'lakor is gleefully pleasant here, including scattered breaks for piano and occasional blast beats.

After answering whether Coherence is surprising, the next thing to answer is whether it’s good. Answer: yes, it is. If you’re already on board the Be'lakor hype train, I don’t see this album turning out to be a disappointment. The progressive nature of the writing again delivers multi-faceted songs that take the listener on satisfying journeys, whether it be the lush acoustic-heavy melancholy of “Sweep For Days”, the unusually uplifting and upbeat tone of “Valence” or the more typical “Foothold”.

How the album ranks in their discography to date is more up to debate; I personally hold Stone’s Reach and especially Of Breath And Bone as amongst the finest that the genre has to offer, and in comparison to a record that is as consistently exhilarating as Of Breath And Bone, there is more of Coherence that feels slightly ‘Be'lakor-by-numbers’: fine while it lasts, but not necessarily demanding your attention to the same extent. Still, when those signature moments of Be'lakor magic arrive, they’re as potent as ever; “Hidden Window” has a thoroughly rousing second half featuring some stirring leads and harmonies, whilst that grand closer “Much More Was Lost” has lovely interplay between the piano and sad guitar leads amidst a series of potent emotional peaks.

Ultimately, I would hold Coherence at a similar level to Vessels; lacking the consistent jawdropping magic of their best albums, it nevertheless serves as a fine example of what the band that is arguably the gold standard in melancholic melodeath is capable of. At the end of the day, it’s unrealistic to expect an album as brilliant as Of Breath And Bone every time Be'lakor emerge from the studio; without those expectations, Coherence is a seriously strong record that provides ample pay-off for all that anticipation.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 28.10.2021 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 14   Visited by: 350 users
28.10.2021 - 21:15
Rating: 10

"Gold standard in melancholic melodeath" huh! How about that! \m/
28.10.2021 - 23:01

Just a very good record and a very good review. Nothing ground-breaking, but a fantastic listen. As is standard with a Be'lakor release, the best thing about it is the overall flow of the album.
29.10.2021 - 10:54

A lot of words to say "if you like the previous albums, you will like this one" and you still somehow managed to write more than the "recommended" 500 words
But seriously, good review, I look forward to hearing it. I'm also of the opinion that Of Breath And Bone is their finest work.

The trend I’m referring to above is the additional year that has appeared in the gap between each subsequent release, with albums in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2016 and now 2021

I noticed this trend with another band recently as well, but now I can't think of who it was...
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
29.10.2021 - 11:34

This is their peak, A somewhat perfect mix of Insomniums Since the day it all came down and Omnium Gatherums New World Shadows.But in the style of Be'lakor. Clear AOTY
29.10.2021 - 15:34
Rating: 9
Au Pays Natal
They did it again. Their are very few bands in my ginormous discography that can get away with putting out the "same" album over and over and over. This is one them.

Excellent review Matt and thanks.
29.10.2021 - 18:41
Coconut Racecar

Lovely album, their best so far in my opinion.

Sweep Of Days gave me big Opeth vibes. Like, from Ghost Reveries maybe.
31.10.2021 - 05:37
Rating: 10

Very fair review! I can kind of see how you wouldn't think this album is revolutionary if you think oBnB tis the pinnacle of Be'lakor, as it is very different. For me, since you were wondering, oBnB is like a decent Christmas cake. If you have it once a year, it's phenomenal. The best, maybe. Pretend for a second that you also love Christmas cake. But slice after slice, it loses it's charm, which makes me wonder: is the reviewer really a fan of Christmas, or do they just turns up for the cake? Do they hate their family? Nonetheless, this album, I find it to be more demanding to listen to, since they took away the side of vanilla ice cream, but boy the soundscape is so rich when you (presumably) don't listen to it with a toaster. It's a fountain of real black chocolate. And if you aren't having a bite of the dark stuff, at least 85%, after dinner each night then all I can say is that you probably aren't getting enough antioxidants. Unless you hit the red wine so hard that you write dribble like this comment. Alas, for me, Coherence is their most complete and complex album from start to finish. The number of different musical influences I hear in this bad boy is astounding. A Mega Evolution. And they were at least a Charizard to begin with. I feel like I will be grateful to the band for gracing me/us with this sweet tapestry of melodies and tasteful beats for years to come. Onwards and upwards.
31.10.2021 - 12:34
when those signature moments of Be'lakor magic arrive, they’re as potent as ever

Upon first listen it didn't grab me as much because I thought I found fewer moments of these than before. But I will give it more listens anyway.
02.11.2021 - 00:11
Rating: 8

I confess that i was hoping for something more grandious, but the end result wasn´t really what i was expecting.The álbum took to much time and songs, to really grab me. First half is the weakest link, for sure. The album only takes off from the song "Sweep Of Days", and from than on, really delivers the true essence and quality of this band. In my opinion, "Vessels" is a better álbum, overall.

Anyway, I still think it´s a pretty good record. I would say "Locus", "Sweep of Days", "Hidden Window" and "Much More Was Lost", are the best tracks of the record.
02.11.2021 - 15:07
Rufus Valentine
Account deleted
I'm starting to grow a bit weary of melodic death but this is very good - highly inventive with a prog twist.

Like so many great albums it requires multiple listens for it to reveal its secrets.

Be'lakor is probably the most interesting melodeath band out there at the moment.
03.11.2021 - 10:30

Written by luckypierre on 31.10.2021 at 05:37

Very fair review! ...

....You were high when you wrote this, right?

Nice review btw, looking forward to giving this plenty of spins \m/
11.11.2021 - 00:37
Rating: 9

Great review! Only thing I'd add is that this album should be experienced in a single, uninterrupted, 1-hour mega-chug rather than in bits and pieces over time. That kind of flow, where it can be unclear when one track ends and the next begins, kinda reminds me of a Tool album.

Quote: a year featuring new releases from Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, In Mourning, At The Gates and more, Coherence is arguably the most anticipated melodeath record of 2021.
Definitely the most anticipated! If Insomnium's next full release isn't an absolute ass-kicker is it time to formally hand the winter metal crown to Be'lakor? They might not be Scandinavian but it feels like they're bringing more originality to the genre than any of those other bands.
30.11.2021 - 09:51
Rating: 10
Grouch Douglas
I really hope we don't have to wait until 2027 for a new Be'lakor album. With the way things have been going lately, I could be dead by then.
14.01.2022 - 04:24
Rating: 9
Gothic Metalhead
Pro Introvert
For the most part, I have found Be'lakor's discography as just solid. They were definitely good but were not enough for me to gravitate to their music much like with melodeath contemporaries Insomnium. Coherence on the other hand was the first album of theirs that really surprised me and has been considered great. Not only being complemented with an amazing album cover, but a lot of it feels more emotionally atmospheric compared to what I have heard in the past. It's safe to say I'm finally paying attention to Be'lakor with this album.

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