There is no question Belef’s cover art on Infection Purification is one of the most controversial in 2005. JP Fournier (Immortal’s At the Heart of Winter) really came up with an image grotesque enough to make you pick up the CD to check out what’s inside. With a cover like this you know it wouldn’t be songs about love. Half-faded corpse-painted faces of the musicians confirm the obvious – raw brutal black metal is in store.
You really wouldn’t expect music so vicious to come from French Riviera. The dudes from Cannes and its surroundings should be laid back and mellow. All that warm sea, beaches and film festivals should have a calming effect on men. Belef apparently didn’t partake much in the climate, instead sequestering themselves in Praxis Studios to create Infection Purification – a piece of skull ravaging war mongering black metal, their debut for Candlelight.
Infection Purification comes off sounding as if it was the goal of Belef to prove the point of how brutal they can be. To say drummer Gorgor practiced a few blastbeats would be a severe understatement. From the word “go”, from the first notes of the opener Brutal Destruction, Belef’s blast machine gets underway. Pretty fast, but not Kataklysm fast, muscular drum beating supports and thrusts forward jackhammering guitar riffs found on some earlier Marduk albums. This is all cool, but … the story repeats itself again on I Need Enemies, and then … again on Torment Dominator and … pretty much becomes the definitive album description. There is just no variation on Infection Purification, and the players are seemingly not concerned about it much. A few different moments exist with groovy waltz riffs in the middle of Corpse and some hints of melodic progression in Veincut Ecstasy. Those aren’t bad, but they are so few and far between. Some samples and even totally unexpected female vocals (unless it is that ass tattooed chick from the cover) act as if they are going to make a difference in Torment Dominator. No, they won’t, not with that incessant blastbeat and same riffs over and over again. Infection Purification just doesn’t engulf and grab the listener, except nice apotheosis song conclusions on Man Slayer and Veincut Ecstasy.
You certainly have to practice this craft to be good at it, and I have to say Belef guitarists Adramelech and Brahmather certainly don’t lack musicianship and skills. The aforementioned blastbeat would not be confused with the fastest in Black Metal, and it is way too delineated when blastbeat stops and double bass begins (I Need Enemies). Smoother transitions would have actually helped to break the monotony. On vocals Morrdred goes for the hot-coals-in-my-throat approach similar to that of Anaal Natrakh. Not bad, but nothing special – and that is pretty much the story of Infection Purification throughout the album, nothing special.
Cleanly produced, but melody and atmosphere be damned, Infection Purification got the subtlety of a bulldozer and in and of itself it is not a bad thing. The trouble is with this brutality and rawness pushed to the forefront there is nothing else left with Belef, nothing to say why I would want to spin this album again. For brutal and raw, yet captivating I would recommend a recent Tsjuder output.
Once in a while I have to carpool with people who aren’t really into metal, especially its extreme branches. Their main claim – Black Metal is senseless boring instrument torture. I always try to debate the subject, however, Belef would provide my opponents with ample ammunition. Some diversity and better songwriting has to be in the cards for these Frenchmen, otherwise the only thing we will remember them for is cover art.
Killing Songs :
They all seem so much alike ... OK, Corpse, Veincut Ecstasy, if I have to ...
|Alex quoted 49 / 100|
There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Mar 22, 2005 8:08 am
View and Post comments