, one of France's best kept secrets finally get around to releasing their fourth album (it was due to be released in early 2005 but their then label Sacral Productions went 'tit's up' and has now been picked up by Adipocere), can they have improved on their last release 'Spicilege' (which in my opinion is one of the great black metal albums and certainly the best French metal album ever)?.......... well no but it's still a bloody good album.
Of the 14 tracks on the album 7 are intro's and 7 are the 'proper' songs, Belenos
play what you would call traditional black metal and don't deviate too much from the 'true' path.
They, like the true quality black metal acts before them have that certain something that the 'run of the mill' bands do not, whilst not being the next Emperor
they certainly rise above the lesser lights of Marduk
, Dark Funeral
and their ilk.
The intro's also work in their favour, breaking the tracks up with slower melodic chant based sections that breathe life into something that could become repetitive.
Not that all the tracks are 'blast-fests' far from it, there is a great deal of musical invention here, for instence the track 'Fureur Celtique' has an almost doom like vibe to it.
If you like your black metal traditional you'll love this but there is enough variation and invention to drag this above most of today's 'copy-cat' bands to make it sound fresh.
This is certainly not the best black metal album ever (it's not even the bands best) but it should be in any black metallers collection and will tide us over until the next truly awesome album is released (whoever it may be by).
Go on buy it, you know you want to and if you don't I promise you'll regret it, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday and then for the rest of your life!!