Though Of Breath and Bone, the third CD from Australia's Be'lakor, has been out in Europe and most of the rest of the world since mid-2012, we are only just now seeing its release here in the US. Why the long delay is anyone's guess, but as the old saying goes, better late than never. Of Breath and Bone picks up right where 2009's Stone's Reach left off, offering up adventurous progressive & melodic death metal that will surely please any fan of Insomnium, Opeth, Amon Amarth, and Omnium Gatherum.
The way this band alternates between crushing death metal passages and atmospheric, often times almost folky passages, instantly brings to mind classic Opeth, but other than the stylistic similarities Be'lakor don't really sound at all like the Swedes. "Abeyance" and "Remnants" do that 'light/dark' thing quite well, relying on crafty lead guitar harmonies and punishingly heavy riffs to cement the 'dark' imagery alongside the awesome growling vocals of George Kosmas , while 'light' passages filled with acoustic guitar & keyboards add the right amount of texture and balance. When the band goes full bore into crushing, melodic death metal, like on "Fraught", the results are just as impressive, as the band mixes in some of the catchiest riffs around, plenty brutal with just the right amount of technicality. "Absit Omen" is about as layered & melodic as a death metal song can get, and the near 10-minute "In Parting" is epic every step of the way, with some of the most inventive guitar work on on the album and some great added textures from the keyboards & classical guitar. The epics continue with "The Dream And The Waking" and "By Moon and Star", both hovering at the 9-minute mark and offering up plenty of variety for those into punishing death metal with plenty of melodic & progressive elements. I can't stress enough just how many fascinating guitar textures and harmony lines are splattered throughout these tracks, as was as memorable, heavy riffs.
If you're tired of the 'same old same old' when it comes to death metal, then you need to give these Australians a try. Be'lakor are one of the most adventurous bands in the genre today, and it's about time the world knows about it.
04. Absit Omen
05. To Stir The Sea
06. In Parting
07. The Dream And The Waking
08. By Moon And Star