Be'lakor - Stone's Reach
Melodic Death Metal
8 songs (59:27)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat

It’s rather a bittersweet emotion to rediscover a band of ‘yours’, as my colleague Alex likes to put it, a band that you have discovered and helped bring to the attention of others, only to find that the band remain deep underground and far from the success which they so deserve. Back in 2007 I awarded the debut full-length from Australian Melodeathers Be’lakor with Surprise Of The Month and declared it possibly the best Melodeath album ever made, and the knowledge that the band’s follow-up is even better should come as news to no-one who took my advice and listened. Of course, the one difficulty with ordering you, the reader, to rush out and buy this is the band’s label-less status; were Be’lakor Swedish or German they would doubtless be signed to Century Media or Nuclear Blast by now and all over the local Metal media, but as they’re Australian it seems that they’ll have to toil at the coalface for a while longer.

Fortunately, if the band can keep releasing such fantastic albums as this then major label support seems only a matter of time. With Stone’s Reach Be’lakor are two for two, and whilst on first listens this may appear to be more of the same, it’s the little upgrades and progressions here and there that really impress. Keeping the same line-up here as on 2007’s The Frail Tide, the band again set out their style and aim to impress, mixing together the same influences as before – Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, My Dying Bride – and taking their music further down the artistic path. Few others could pull it off, really... starting the album with an Opethy drum flourish and swirling, gentle melodies before the main riffage arises and drives the song straight into the awesome zone, those sudden guitar leads and Maiden-gone-Prog melodies still as compelling as before.

With songs tending towards the upper limit of ten minutes rather than the sub-three minute interlude Husks, patience is the name of the game, although few genuine Metalheads will have little problem with any tracks here, as they’re all packed full of excellent guitarwork. Whether it’s headbangable riffs or pastoral interludes, both George and Shaun play their hearts out – not that the rest of the band are far behind, of course, all entirely professional at what they do. The album is a joy to listen to, from the opening Toolish mutterings of Outlive The Hand that quickly turns into a piledriving Melodeath battery, to the mildly Folky parts of Sun’s Delusion. Of course, each song is more than complex enough to have so many things going on that listing them all would be a disservice to both you and the band; whilst never doing anything completely unexpected (perhaps the one improvement that Be’lakor could make is adding a little pinch of the Avant-Garde, keeping the listener on his toes) Stone’s Reach is pretty much Melodeath perfection, and is wonderfully easy to praise.

If you enjoy the bands listed before, you should certainly hunt down this album, released in Australia by Prime Cuts Music and independently the rest of the world. Any Melodeath fan should love this, not just lovers of the likes of Insomnium and Swallow The Sun, but even the Amon Amarthlings will get a lot from Stone’s Reach – an absolutely killer album with real class, and a must-listen for all.

Killing Songs :
Venator, Outlive The Hand, Aspect, Countless Skies
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Be'lakor that we have reviewed:
Be'lakor - Vessels reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Be'lakor - Of Breath And Bone reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Be'lakor - The Frail Tide reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
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