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On disc: Be'Lakor

Stone's Reach - Mike Thompson - 7 stars

Stone's Reach

Stone's Reach
(Kolony Records - 2009)

I've heard a lot about Be'Lakor in recent times as they've been one of the main topics of conversation amongst my more melo death-inclined friends. The band's first album, 2007's The Frail Tide, garnered much critical acclaim and now they have followed up with their second full-length, Stone's Reach.
Before I continue I have to confess that I'm not the world's biggest melo death fan as I tend to find most of it just tedious and uninspired. However, I was keen to hear how Be'Lakor sounded due to all the fuss!
This album has a distinctly Scandinavian feel to it, highly reminiscent of melo death titans Dark Tranquility. It has everything a fan of this genre will love, especially the slick guitar work which is technical and heavy, changing between melodic and distinctly melancholic parts to aggressive and at times furiously heavy riffing.
The keyboard parts, although fairly few and far between, are well placed and not overdone. They add to the feel of the songs without ever seeming over-the-top cheesy.
The drumming too is absolutely spot on! Other bands take note; this is how a kick drum is supposed to sound – sharp yet pulverising, a bit like being hit with a spiked mace!
The only real negative point I have to make about this album is that the songs are just too damned long! Most of them clock in well over the seven or eight minute mark. Even the acoustic instrumental, Husk, is far too long for what it is – a fairly simplistic interlude that even if it was only thirty seconds long would be an unnecessary addition to the album.
It appears that most bands that aspire to Opeth's crown as kings of progressive death metal seem to believe that writing long songs crammed full of ideas are the way forward. Personally I'd like for these bands to take a step backward and just write a good melo death song that will hold my attention for its full duration!
Despite my drawbacks about the song lengths I would still say that this was a very good album that fans of Dark Tranquility, Insomnium and Opeth will lap up!

7 stars

Mike Thompson


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