Day five of my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown is upon us meaning that I’m already a sixth of the way through this series. Thank you to those who have been following this series since the beginning. And to those who are new to this, I welcome you – I hope you enjoy what you read and that you stick around for the remaining 25 posts still to come in this series.
I’ve already had some really nice positive comments about this year’s countdown and to those people, I salute you. I am more than happy however, to receive some negative comments if you have them. I can’t be getting every decision right, surely? Or can I?
Well, whatever the answer to that, there’s plenty of time to make a faux pas and I look forward to the banter that will ensue when I do. With that firmly in mind, it’s time to cease procrastination and reveal my choice at 26 this year:
“…‘Vessels’ is, quite simply, fantastic. It is one of those albums that makes an instant impression but with further listens, matures and blossoms into something even more impressive. Small and subtle nuances come to the fore, intricacies reveal themselves and the melodies burrow deeper into your psyche.
At its heart, ‘Vessels’ is a death metal album or, at the very least an extreme metal record…But Be’lakor are not content to just plough a brutal furrow…’Vessels’ is, as a result, a multi-layered, multi-faceted beast full of wonderful aural textures, atmosphere, drama and grand elegance.
Be’lakor…is the biggest and most exciting melodic death metal discovery I have made in the last year or so, maybe longer. They do everything that I like in my metal and they do it extremely well. I am well and truly converted to the Be’lakor cause and I cannot sing their praises highly enough…”
As someone who absolutely adores melodic death metal and intelligent, progressive music, I simply cannot believe that Be’lakor and I had never crossed paths before now. It is ludicrous. And yet it is the reality that faced me earlier in the year as I ‘discovered’ Be’lakor for the first time. I can be such an idiot sometimes.
I had nothing to compare it to in terms of their back catalogue at the time I reviewed this album. However, on the strength of ‘Vessels’, I have since delved into the past and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I must admit that ‘Vessels’ remains my favourite Be’lakor record but I think it has much to do with the fact that it led to this new voyage of discovery, because this Australian band are frighteningly consistent. Quality is a key word in their armoury but then so is technicality, sophistication and ambition; all of these words are well-placed when describing the music of Be’lakor with ‘Vessels’ being the absolute epitome of all of them.
Again, but for an insanely strong year, ‘Vessels’ could have easily made it into my Top 20, maybe higher. It is pure brilliance and must be checked out as soon as humanly possible.
In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:
And from previous years: