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Belathuzur was one of the more obscure bands from the French Black Legions, releasing only two demos during its brief existence. This was a solo project of Krissagrazabeth, who is probably best known for his stint as the drummer of Mütiilation. No one familiar with the LLN should be surprised at the hideously lo-fi and primitive sound found on the band's 1994 demo.
This demo contains only two real songs and does not seem too dissimilar from the material heard on such releases as Hail Satanas, We Are the Black Legions and Vampires of Black Imperial Blood. "The Black Battlefields of Evil" and "Sorrowful Moon" are both laden with many of the same characteristics, including the dismal tremolo melodies and melancholic vocal delivery. Krissagrazabeth's voice possesses the same kind of sickness and hatred that Meyhna'ch was vomiting forth, around the same time. The only difference is that the approach heard on the Belathuzur material is certainly more subdued. The music shows a variety in tempo, going from the faster parts to mid-paced sections that really allow for the misery and gloom to sink in and poison your mind. It is a good thing, as the songs are both around ten minutes in length. Things get rather repetitious, somewhat, as it takes a good deal of time for the riffs to shift from one to the next, almost causing a hypnotic effect. The drumming is fairly primitive and one-dimensional. Oftentimes, it sounds like someone pounding on a cardboard box; however, it is enough to get the job done. The dark atmosphere created by the guitar riffs is enough to make up for any shortcomings that this demo may have.
The overall sound is very much like that of Mütiilation's Black Imperial Blood (Travel) demo, from the same year. There is hardly any difference regarding the guitar tone, which is cold and mournful. The sound is thin, with minimal distortion, but still managing to create a raw feeling. Actually, it would be safe to say that these songs would have fit in well with those of the aforementioned demo tape, with hardly any perceivable discrepancies. There is a very loud hissing that distracts from the music, to an extent, but this is likely due to the fact that Krissagrazabeth had to record each instrument on his own, with shoddy equipment.
Belathuzur's 1994 demo really does deserve a close listen. Any fan of the early Mütiilation material will like this, as well as most of those into the Black Legions, in general. Despite its flaws, the overall sound is not that bad, with everything coming across rather clearly and never degenerating into senseless noise. There is a purpose to everything that is going on here and that is to create a dark and miserable atmosphere. It is too bad that this project did not last longer, as can be said of many of the band's peers in the French scene.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com