|Review: Beltane - Expressionist|
Year released: 2008
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: April 23, 2009
Reviewed by: Jason Cominetto
There's a lot to love about Beltane, but sadly, most will not notice it until a few listens through. This band, hailing from Germany, plays a sort of beautiful style of Progressive Death Metal, and while at first listen they may not seem too exciting, the way they fuse sounds from different genres makes them one of the most original bands out there. The band highly focuses on a more classical and Heavy Metal-esque sound reliant on Death Metal growls (though they don't overlook the obligatory clean vocals), takes elements from Gothic Metal, Technical Death Metal, and even Metalcore by means of a few sparse breakdowns.
Needless to say, the band's sound is a bit difficult to put into words, yet nearly every metalhead will be able to draw connections between the band and others that have a similar, though not identical sound, when they hear Beltane's music.
One of my favorite elements of the band's music is the heavy emphasis on the bass guitar. It can be heard throughout the entirety of the album and never sounds droned out like in most metal releases. Sometimes the rest of the band members will drop out and bassist Daniel Woyke will do a nice run or fill (even a sick solo in "The Natural Cure") to introduce the next part of the song, and while he doesn't do all the galloping of Steve Harris, his role in Beltane is very much similar and relatable to Harris' role in Iron Maiden.
Expressionist is a great first release from a promising band. Songs like "Ophelia" and "Her Watery Grave" are beautifully crafted and flawlessly executed, fusing various sounds from an array of different genres, and while they won't necessarily get your blood flowing and your adrenaline pumping, their depth and layers make it worth your time to check them out anyway. I'm highly looking forward to this band's next release, and hopefully they will find a label to take them so they can take their experimentation and sound to the next level.
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