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Bellaras : The Thousand Tombs of a Broken God

With their rough mix of Death Doom and Funeral, Bellaras show some promise.

Bellaras is a new Extreme Doom outfit from Northern Ireland, formed in 2009, and this demo is their first release – a release which will hardly appeal to those who are only marginally interested in Doom Metal and stick to some more prominent artists for their melancholic moments. For The Thousand Tombs Of A Broken God is a real underground opus and, as such, mainly for lovers of the underground. This does not only apply to the fact that this is a tape-only release with a mere 50 copies, but also to the recording itself, both in terms of style and production.

The demo starts off with an interesting, atmospherically dense instrumental comprising synths, calm guitar and bass, as well as some vague background noise – a promising introduction which sparks rather high expectations and makes you hungry for more. However, these atmospheric elements are almost entirely absent from the rest of the demo. Instead, the band offer us uncompromising Death Doom, sometimes bordering on Funeral Doom. The basic ingredients are simple and show little variation: low power chord riffing, solid and fairly deep growls (think of Evoken as a point of reference) and repetitive drum patterns.

While everything else sounds sufficiently clear and powerful, the drums are the one element where the production unfortunately falls short: they sound so thin and powerless that they compromise the overall heaviness, which otherwise would have been the music’s primary strength. For the chord sequences bear the potential of extreme heaviness and would thus definitely benefit from a stronger drum production, which would be even more necessary for the occasional double bass patterns. The way it is, however, the minimalist stylistic ingredients and simple song structures fail to convince fully, as the lack of dynamic changes and memorable moments makes it hard to focus on the music.

Still, there are some moments which can arouse the listener’s interest anew and ultimately prove that Bellaras have a sense for bleak atmospheres. The rare instances of lead guitars (such as the beginning of the title track) or synths (especially at the end of ‘Pain Through Madness’) are the best examples of such moments and showcase potentialities which could be developed further on later efforts. Another highlight, I think, is the really dark opening riff of ‘Summoning’, with its well interwoven guitars. Later in the song, it reappears accompanied by double bass drumming, which would have been fairly intense with a better production. Also, the considerably faster closing track finally introduces some diversion – an outlook on what is to be expected in the future?

This demo shows some promise, so we should keep an eye on the band’s next steps. If you are into the more extreme and minimalist kind of underground Doom, then you might want to give this release a chance. It can be downloaded for free from the band’s website.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1.Contagious Descent
2.Obscured by Defeat
3.Pain Through Madness
4.The Thousand Tombs of a Broken God
6.Sardonic Awakening

Duration : Approx. 36 minutes

Visit the Bellaras bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-02-02 by Dominik Sonders
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