|Review: Belenos - Errances Oniriques|
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Year released: 2009
Originally released in: 2001
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: August 27, 2009
Reviewed by: Nahsil
Thank you, France, for restoring my faith in Black Metal. A few years ago I was feeling disillusioned with the genre. Hadn't everything that could be done, been done? I felt like it had hit a dead end and most bands were striving to be Bathory or Burzum rather than making a name for themselves as something unique and different – while honoring their predecessors rather than emulating them. Long story short: I heard Peste Noire's debut and my interest in BM was rekindled. I don't know what it is about France, but Errances Oniriques is yet another mindblowing monument to the country's flourishing extreme metal scene.
By the time I first heard Belenos' debut I was a little wiser and knew that there would always be interesting bands; it's just a matter of finding them. So while I wasn't as shocked at the pure majesty of these proceedings as I was when "Le Mort Joyeux" graced my ears, I'm still unsure of how something this good can exist. I'll be honest for a second here – I think a lot of Black Metal bands are better at ideas than executions. A lot of BM albums are good but not great because they rely too much on repetition of any given song's handful of musical ideas, good as those ideas may be. Occasionally an album will challenge this view, forcing me to nod my head in acquiescence that there truly are masters of song craft in metal. Errances Oniriques is definitely one of those albums. Where the common metal band fails – such as wasted notes and not knowing how to arrange their music for maximum effect – Belenos succeeds and does so with an incredible amount of character and individuality. This is winding, intelligent Black Metal that sounds nothing like anything else, but captures the essence of the genre with ease.
"Morfondu" is a strong example of this chilling perfection. What begins as a simple, if pretty damn good guitar lead quickly turns into a monster of a track, twisting that lead into a riff, merging it with typical shrieking BM vocals and lots of blast beats and double bass, complemented by a crystal clear production (I should probably note that the album has been re-recorded; I haven't heard its original 2001 mastering). The song evolves with each segment, keeping parts of itself intact but refusing to allow any kind of compositional apathy to settle in. The, dare I say, "progressive" songwriting is mesmerizing and never fails to impress. "Morfondu" is a standout track among standout tracks. If certain bands are charming in their raw imperfection (very common in BM), Belenos are the opposite; intricately designed and nearly without flaw, Errances Oniriques is sickeningly good. This is Black Metal with the kind of precision and power that forces me to become a fan of the genre all over again. Here's to hoping future bands hear this and learn something.
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