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Belef: Infection Purification

Belef is a French band newly signed to Candlelight Records and Infection Purification is their first full-length release. Labeling themselves as one of the followers of the earlier black metal bands, Belef play a strictly one-dimensional form of metal, littered with never-ending screechy vocals, full blast beats, stupidly fast tremelo-picked guitar, alas with little to no variation. I gave this disc an extra month to open up, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. After all, I'm one of those people who believe most underground extreme metal bands have something nice to offer, given a close listen. With Belef, however, this has proved me wrong.

Firstly, for a band that claims to play true black metal in the style of earlier Marduk and Mayhem, or Darkthrone for that matter, I find the recording of this disc way too clean and precise, especially for an album intended to represent chaos and grim atmosphere, which is what black metal is all about. This platter has a very American death metal kind of production to it. The instrumentation is too clear to the point that the music sounds sterile and lifeless. For an album of this genre, if you aren't going to spice your songs up with various elements, maybe you should consider writing tunes that get to the point easily enough, rather than penning 7+ minute tracks that drag on with the same riff and monotone vocal screech until the end. The last cut eclipses 11 minutes, which may quite possibly be the longest black metal track of this kind I've ever heard. I'm all for musical progression and long tracks are usually more to my liking, but in Belef's case I just had a really hard time going through the whole disc at one sitting. Still, I've spun it more times than I'd normally like to, hoping to find that special magic some people on the band's website have been talking about.

Despite all these negative comments, the guys in Belef do know how to play their instruments. Their musicianship is tight and could be even better than many other acts in this style. What they seem to lack is not instrumental efficiency, it's songwriting. Besides black metal has never been about musicianship. It's about creating grim and raw soundscapes. They also might consider adding in extra elements in their songcraft to diversify their sound rather than sticking to writing an 8-track album full with 7 to 11 minute songs with a rather bland and unimaginative songwriting formula.

I have no idea what the motive behind the artwork was for Infection Purification. Done by JP Fournier (Immortal), I have yet to understand whether it's supposed to be sadistic or humorous. Sadly, it's neither in my opinion. This is one of those albums that may sit well with black metal completists only, but then I highly doubt most black metal fans will dig it much either. I know I tried.

Track Listing

  1. Brutal Destruction
  2. I Need Enemies
  3. Torment Dominator
  4. Man Slayer
  5. Barbarian Steel
  6. Corpse
  7. Veincut Exctasy
  8. Immortal Abomination

Added: September 19th 2005
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Belef website
Hits: 2969
Language: english

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