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In Solitude, Sorrow, Hate and Despair... - 95%

AmiralMauth, February 27th, 2014

Les Legiones Noires were a group of corpsepainted weirdos from Brest, France, in the early to mid nineties, who created a scene that was the answer to the Norwegian black circle. Their lifespan was little more than five years, but in that times, they created enough deliciously raw, hateful, Satanic black metal to permanently affect the international scene and the genre in general. March to the Black Holocaust is the epitome of this misanthropic, under produced perversion, designed from start to finish to pervert and offend the Christian worms, and to bring the Black Holocaust to humanity as soon as possible.

The beginning of the CD is a brief anthem that rallies the forces to march under the Imperial Satanic banner to the distorted tones of guitar work, before percussion sets in a violent powerful beat that increases the hatefulness of the piece. The segue into the next song is immediate and seamless, and the same pattern is followed for the majority of Vlad Tepes's contribution to this evil split CD. Distorted guitar, raw (but surprisingly competent) drum work, and rasped shrieks to the glory of Satan carry me through a hateful land with their melodies and well thought out composition. A lot of black metal bands cover crappy technical work with distortion and rawness, but not Vlad Tepes. Everything comes together very well, yet the evil nature of the work comes through 100% clear, 100% of the time.

Belketre has a hard act to follow, but their contributions are just as raw and evil, yet they manage to have a distinct sound from Vlad Tepes. This is the result of black metal circles, in my opinion: like-minded artists with similar goals, views, and the ability to work together collaborate enough to create true masterpieces, but not enough to copy each other. Their response to Vlad Tepes is excellent, from cold minimalist guitar pieces with gurgled vocals like calls from Hell to noisy longer compositions that berate me with Satanic messages with their powerful guitar parts and Hellish vocals. Belketre closes out the split with one of the evilest songs in black metal, "If We Had...", which is an incoherent vocals-only piece that sounds like it was spoken by Satan himself. The abominable chant is only decipherable if you read the lyrics, included in the booklet, and the anti-Christian and misanthropic themes make it clear that Belketre's goal is the same as Vlad Tepes's.

I was very much impressed by this CD. It's not the sort of split that you should listen to piecemeal; rather, start to finish is the best way to experience this evil masterpiece. It's really gripping and it really does take me to the company of the masters behind LLN. As I listen, I see myself screaming alongside them to praise Satan, or chanting to his glory, or playing madly on my guitar so that the Black Holocaust may soon come. This is the best LLN CD I have heard, and it's a must-listen for any serious fan of true, evil, anti-Christian black metal. My only complaint is that there aren't any clean vocals or enough choirs, or any of the really creative work that I'd need to rate this album as perfect. It's pure, raw, relentless black metal from start to finish, and it does not fuck around.

Essentially grimness - 90%

JJM1, July 2nd, 2013

When I look back on it all, I suppose it was right at the turn of the millennium that I became rightly obsessed with all things black metal. I had heard the name before, seen photos of the bands, but never actually heard anything or knew anything about what it was all about. I introduced myself to the common bands at the time; Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Immortal and Satyricon - I knew that I'd come across a genre that I'd love the rest of my life. It was something immensely special and unique and to an extent still very much is today, but little did I know that five years earlier far off in France a group of musicians and bands calling themselves the "Les Légions Noires" or "The Black Legion" had already wrote off modern day black metal as being trendy, fake and essentially dead.

'March to the Black Holocaust' was Vlad Tepes and Beletre's middle finger salute to all the trendies of the day and beyond and they delivered this message with astounding results.

Vlad Tepes
Formed in '92, Vlad Tepes' two-man crew of Vorlok (bass & vocals) & Wlad (vocals, guitars and drums) issued several demos and two splits throughout the 90's before ultimately breaking up in '98 and apparently retiring from the genre forever. The two deliver raw, minimal and highly atmospheric black metal fueled by hate, forged on the standards of the past and a vibe not exactly common these days.

'Wladimir's March' is a short but instantly appealing intro that has a catchy sort of folky or epic lead riff that leads directly into 'Massacre Song from the Devastated Lands,' which is a relentless misanthropic romp of utterly cold sounding black metal. 'In Holocaust to the Natural Darkness' is total Bathory worship that brings the listener back to '84 in mere seconds, while 'Drink the Poetry of the Celtic Disciple' completely freezes my arteries for its twelve minute duration as it moves through speedier paces to gloomy dirges and even some moments of majestic excellence that's complete with thrilling solos and honestly some of the best riffs you'll ever hear in black metal music. No doubt a masterpiece, but what a crime to think that I ignored this band for so damn long! The remaining four songs hardly relent in quality either, especially 'Misery Fear & Storm Hunger' & 'Under the Carpathian Yoke,' which just fucking rip! Notably the entire recording plays out as a rehearsal with each track bleeding right into each other, which is an interesting but quite effective way to not lose the listeners attention for a moment, which is exactly the case with these songs.

Belketre
Originally formed in '89 under the name 'Chapel of Ghouls' and then known as 'Zelda' between '91-'92, the band eventually settled on the name of Belkètre and much like Vlad Tepes released just demos and splits throughout their existence, which came to an end in '96. Similarly a two-man band, Vordb Dréagvor Uèzréèvb and Aäkon Këëtrëh played in several bands in the 90's but quit all activities before the passing into a new millennium.

Belkètre forgoes the obvious Bathory and more active nature of Vlad Tepes' songs in favor of something that's both mid-paced as well as speedy and always cold, very under produced and generally quite depressive and dark in its overall scope. 'Guilty' is just total blackened gloom interspaced with a few moments of merciless hatred, whereas 'A Day Will Dawn' is just malice in audio form, though the production being what it is, its hard to decipher the riffs, but maybe they were not even intended to be heard. 'Hate' is an otherworldly piece intermingled with demonic beast growls that's really unlike anything I've ever heard before, while 'Last Sigh of God' is two minutes of ferociousness. And again the remaining four tracks are all above average, though I'd say that Belkètre's music is less accessible than Vlad Tepes, but my no means bad or anything, its just the embodiment of hate filled raw black metal.

As a whole black metal of this variety will be completely hit or miss with most listeners. There's nothing cute or fancy about these songs, its just black metal played in the truest and evilest manner imaginable. As such, its quite recommended to those that want to see this particular side of the genre performed with absolute excellence.

Originally Published at Lunar Hypnosis: http://lunarhypnosis.blogspot.com

Vlad Tepes and Belketre deliver a class act - 95%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, August 3rd, 2010

A fantastic French Black Legions recording we've got here and if it were better known it would qualify as a classic black metal album. Two of the best known bands in the Black Legions scene in southern France whose members often worked together in various side projects with often wacky names like Dzlvarv, Mogoutre and Susvoutre yet as Vlad Tepes and Belketre produced very different styles of black metal come together on this split record of sheer raw power and high energy and, in Belketre's case, the most evil vibes. There really is something here for every self-respecting tr00 and kvlt believer as the bands are almost the opposite of each other in their approach to song-writing and improvising on the spot, the way they treat elements like atmosphere, how they use their instruments and what they wish to emphasise.

What we get with Vlad Tepes is an exuberant rollicking black metal with some traditional heavy metal elements such as guitar solos and catchy melodies that you can almost dance to plus spot-on percussion work. The music is fiery and attacking on all fronts and there are many strong melodies and riffs. The first track "Wladimir's Song" is a short intro that reminds me of a children's nursery tune but I forget what that one was. Skip two tracks to "Drink the Poetry of the Celtic Disciple" which is an amazingly varied and multi-paced epic with many folk music tunes and rhythms and which continues to throw up new guitar solos and riffs right up to the very end. Yours truly hopes beyond hope that there is a video of Vlad Tepes performing this and other songs in a live situation or similar lying somewhere in someone's cupboard or in a cavern deep in a chateau in need of someone to unearth it and release it upon the unsuspecting world. All the songs revolve around war, massacre and enslavement meaning lots of thumping war drums, driving music, a thrilling ambience and (a real bonus for Black Legions recordings) a clear sound that gives the music a lot of depth. The one downer is that sometimes the singing gets lost in the barrage of music and could have done with being more upfront in the mix but this is a minor criticism as the music is well-crafted and the guys play with a lot of feeling and joy and pride in their musicianship. I'm not all that fussed that a lot of this music has old school heavy metal features, I know it is contrary to the bands' assertion in the CD sleeve that black metal mustn't be mixed up with other styles of heavy metal but if other styles of music actually enliven the black metal, well it's the guys' prerogative to mix it up provided they're prepared to eat their words.

You'd think that Vlad Tepes would be a hard act to follow but incredibly Belketre upstage their friends with music that has a distorted shitty sound, hissy and complementing the reptile vokillz and the hate-filled lyrics well. The drummer attacks his cymbals and tom-toms with demonic aggression and the very atmosphere surrounding the guys reeks of acidic life-sapping clouds of whiny guitar. The singing packs in the venom of a thousand cobras and mambas and spews it out in long drawn-out shrieks and yowls. The musicians also delve into experimental ambient soundscapes which have to be heard to be believed: "Hate" is an amazing recording of a slumbering dyspeptic tyrannosaur demon beast; "If We Had ..." features a choir of Cthulhu-related fiends chanting and echoing one another in a horrible bastard language; "Despair" is a doomy all-guitar affair that drags down the spirit. However Belketre can also crank out tracks like "Night of Sadness" which has strong rhythms and melodies, mournful guitar tones and demonic vokillz on the verge of a breakdown. There is not a single filler piece in Belketre's half of the split, every track reveals a new weapon in the duo's seemingly bottomless arsenal and no matter how weird and eccentric the music becomes, the guys play with confidence and gusto.

I happen to prefer Belketre's side but don't let that stop you from thinking Vlad Tepes is better: both bands offer music of a high and consistent standard and they both believe in what they are doing with no irony. If you like your BM to have stirring martial tunes with lightning-fast guitar runs, catchy melodies and high octane aggression and relentless attack, you'll get all this with Vlad Tepes; if your taste runs to sick and hateful music with a primitive sound, poisonous ambience, corrosive singing and willingness to experiment, Belketre would suit you well.

These guys lay it on the line with their passion and belief in themselves and their cause. And their cause is delivering a class act (or two).

Vlad Tepes The March - 95%

hole_in_your_chest, March 29th, 2009

This is the album that’s responsible for re-sparking my interest in black metal. I’ll be honest, the original Norwegian got a little stale on me, and I nearly forgot about the genre completely. However, with the days getting shorter, and the temperature diving ever lower, I thought it was time to give a few new bands a chance, and I was lucky enough for this to be one of the first albums to fall into my lap.

This split is widely considered one of the best to come from the LLN (Les Legionaries Norte, or the Black Legions), and rightly so. The two bands here come from the same area, share members, even play in a similar style, yet manage to sound completely different. A worthy feat in my eyes.

Vlad Tepes starts the album with a short instrumental track. Normally, I’d refer to something like this as an intro, but this is one of the finest songs I’ve heard and deserves more respect then being mistaken for some ambient clip that should be skipped over. Wladimir’s March is an easily accessible piece of Black metal that’s both coarse and grainy, as well as ‘rockin’. It sounds like the band might be tuning up for a show or just shredding in a garage. An admirable attitude in these days of ‘I’m kvlter then u’ faux-demonicness.

The members all pull their weight. The vocalist performs a sighing growl that properly demonstrates the type of mournful hatred that black metal is based on. The guitarist is a driving taskmaster that pushes the songs along at a quick pace, especially evident on Diabolical Reaps. He also breaks out a few solos, another energizing change from the popular styles. The drummer is strong, but his performance is a little shy of being spectacular. The bass even has a few audible lines!

The majority of VT pieces are strong, with a few fillers thrown about. Most songs are short, clocking in between 30 seconds to 4 minutes, with the exception of the epic 11 minute DtPotCD. While the lyrics quite indecipherable, the song titles due for a few laughs. ‘In Holocaust to the Natural Darkness’, and ‘Drink the Poetry of the Celtic Disciple’ are both prime culprits, but the songs themselves make up for the ridiculous titles. Almost FEKTHREROENNUERM-esque, eh?

Vlad’s closer ‘Under the Carpathian Yoke’ deserves mention as it’s one of few Black metal pieces that I can honestly call ‘groovy’. The fact that this band possesses the ability to simultaneously inspire homicide by arson and light-hearted drunken debauchery is astounding.

Highlights on Vlad’s Side: If I mentioned it, it’s a highlight.

Belketre, on the other hand, is a far more traditional black metal group in that the members seem much lass set on having fun, and more occupied with making insane tunes. Much more distortion is used here, and the small amount of bass heard earlier has now disappeared. The band likes to follow a pattern of using a mostly ambient or non-linear pieces with clean samples to build tension, which is capitalized on in the next one or two pieces. It’s repetitive, and predictable, but effective to building the pieces up, one after another. These guys also know their way around a tempo-change.

Vocals are shrieks with a lot of good variation. The drumming has much improved from the earlier side, but the guitarist seems to have suffered a severe loss of skill. Not to mention the guitar is now so distorted, it sounds almost synth-like. On some of the slower parts, such as part through ‘A Day Will Dawn’ it’s noticeable how similar the styles of these two bands are, no matter how differently they are played.

Highlights on Belketre’s side: Those of Our Blood, The Last Sigh of God.

Originally written for: http://www.thereviewroom.tk/

Enveloped By Hate; Enveloped By Excellence - 94%

The_Evil_Hat, September 20th, 2008

This was one of the first Raw Black metal albums I’d heard, hell, one of the first black metal albums. Upon first listening I fell in love with Vlad Tepes and on the next few listens I fell in love with Belketre. This album single-handedly caused me to dig deeper into the world of black metal and without it I may not have discovered many of my favorite bands. Shortly after falling in love with it I wrote this review. Months have passed and my opinion has changed. While I still adore this split I am hesitant to rate it quite as high as I once did. I feel that the original review was quite good and described the sound accurately so I’m not going to change it. Instead, I’m going to add in a second ‘final notes’ section at the end which will detail any changes that you may find upon your umpteenth listen of this masterpiece.

This split is quite possibly the best raw black metal album ever created. Both bands are completely on top of their genre, and each band produces what is clearly their best work. Both bands are incredible, and this album is a true black metal masterpiece.

While both bands play raw black metal, their sounds are completely different. Neither outshines the other (although I prefer Vlad Tepes) and this split is just about as close to perfection as you can go in the black metal world.

VLAD TEPES

The Vlad Tepes side of this split is nothing short of extraordinary. It consists of eight tracks, all of which are very good. The only one that isn’t of such a high caliber is the thirty second Dans Norte Chute.

When I first got this split I wasn’t too sure what to expect. My experiences with raw black metal had been limited to only a handful of bands, and I’d heard countless rumors of atrocious production and plain out awfulness with regards to the LLN.

The first track on this album shattered all of my expectations. Vladmir’s March is an incredible song. It isn’t aggressive (although there is no shortage of that in the later parts of the album) but it is incredibly melodic and atmospheric. It feels as if it is time to march and head towards the enemy, eagerly awaiting the time when you can rip their limbs from their bodies.

This image is rather apt, as the next few songs are more related to flat out melees and frenzied killings rather than a somewhat somber march. While never loosing their focus or descending into self parody (What? I never said anything about Marduk!), they manage to be extremely aggressive, while retaining their melodic edge.

When it comes to songwriting Vlad Tepes has no equal in black metal, as far as I am concerned. Their riffs are melodic, aggressive and incredibly memorable. They don’t crush you with dozens of riffs, but they no when to switch it up to avoid boredom. Their riffs sound very Rock influenced, but don’t worry, this is a far cry from the abomination that is Black N’ Roll.

The production here is far better than on any of their other albums (Except for maybe their split with Torgeist). Every instrument is audible, including the bass (although it never does too much). There is no wall of static preventing you from hearing the songs, and the recorder sounds like it is actually in the same room as the band playing.

The vocals are fairly generic, but they fit the album. They are fairly understandable in a few songs, although the lyrics don’t appear to be too special. The guitars consist primarily of tremolo riffing and power chords, but it comes off great. They never get old or loose their melodic edge. The bass never does anything of too much interest with the exception of the intro to Vladmir’s March. The drums are very simple, but they fit the music and are fun to listen to. In the end, it’s much better to have simple and enjoyable drums than 200 BPM blasting all the time. Speaking of BPM, this never gets particularly fast. It usually stays in the mid tempo range, although there are a few faster and a few slower parts to add variety.

In short, this is a truly incredible piece of black metal. On its own, it’s already in the running for best black metal album I’ve ever heard. While listening to it straight through will yield the best experience, picking and choosing tracks is more than enough to show this band’s genius. The standout tracks are: In Holocaust to the Natural Darkness, Vladmir’s March, Drink to the Poetry of Celtic Discipline (twelve minutes long, and it never gets old) and Diabolical Reaps. The score for Vlad Tepes’ side is a 98.

BELKETRE

Belketre are quite different from their rock influenced counterparts. They play a far more chaotic, atmospheric and aggressive style of black metal. Their side of the split took a bit longer to sink in, but as of now I consider it almost as good as the Vlad Tepes side.

Their production is far worse and muddier than their counterpart’s production (Although, it is still better than the production on their other works). The production, while raw, is still fairly audible. You can’t make out every instrument – but you’re not supposed to. What the band wants you to hear, you hear.

Belketre creates atmosphere, quite a bit of it in fact. It isn’t the same kind of atmosphere that a suicidal black metal band (like Xasthur or Leviathan) would create. This atmosphere isn’t sorrowful or mourning, not in the least. Instead, it is hateful. The exception to this is the song Night of Sadness as it manages to combine both moods.

In between many of the tracks there are interlude type songs. These usually consist of a slow riff (or two) that lingers over a few minutes. In addition, some of them contain weird growls or vocal effects. Instead of lessening the tension, these increase it. As they pass by, you can’t help wondering how much time is left before the next assault begins. The only exception to this is the outro. It consists of wildly shifting effect altered vocals for a little over a minute. While it was supposed to come off as strange and menacing it just sounds somewhat silly, which is certainly not what the band was intending.

The vocalist shouts and shrieks over the music quite frequently. While his technique is no different than quite a few other black metal singers, his effect if far greater than most of them. He sounds hateful but not inhuman. Instead, he sounds like the most twisted and crazed human you will ever meet.

Their guitars are more like razors than those of their counterparts, constantly assaulting you as they envelope you in their chaotic mist. Their sound is enveloping, but not substantial. Like mist they move all around you and fill you with fear and terror - right up until they move in for the kill, that is.

Their drums resort to blasting and speed far more than those of their counterpart, but it fits the chaotic atmosphere perfectly. Also, unlike many bands, they know when to slow it down and stop blasting for a bit. The bass is utterly inaudible.

The songwriting is almost as good as their counterparts. They mix assaulting and incredibly aggressive parts with slower more methodical parts, with both balancing out the other.

The Belketre side of the split is a great black metal release, and is quite clearly the equal of the other side. Unlike the Vlad Tepes side, this is clearly meant to be listened to straight through. While you can skip around to some degree, a good portion of the experience will be lost. The standout tracks are: Those of our Blood, A Day Will Dawn, and Night of Sadness. Overall, this side of the split earns a 96.

OVERALL

Overall, this is an incredibly solid split album. Both sides are of incredible caliber, and this album is simply a must by for any fans of raw black metal. I prefer the Vlad Tepes side, but they are so close in quality that a favorite simply comes down to preference.

----Final Notes----

This album is truly incredible, but my opinions have shifted a bit. I no longer feel that the Vlad Tepes side is superior to the Belketre side. While it possesses great songs I feel that upon extensive listening a few of the tracks get slightly predictable and loose some of their power. This drags down the score a little. In addition, once you’ve heard the Vlad Tepes side a few times, that’s all there is to it. The same cannot be said for the Belketre side which contains countless small details that you’re bound to miss on your first – or your tenth – listen and keeps growing on you listen after listen. As such the amended scores for each side would be:
Vlad Tepes – 92
Belketre – 96

666 - 99%

HASHCLOUD, January 10th, 2006

VLAD TEPES / BELKETRE
“March to the Black Holocaust”
(SPLIT-CD)
Tragic Empire Rex / 2005

First of all, I tell you that this split is surely a classic, one of the few manifestations of the purest Black Metal. Listening to this cd is the invocation of the Evil.

The first edition came from EMBASSY RCORDS, being very limited and bootleged. TRAGIC EMPIRES REX (something like an official bootleger) has recently reissued this item , ten years after the original pressing.

Vlad Tepes begin “the crime” with an instrumental introduction that sounds like a melancholic march. The drumming is primitive. Then the first song begins with a rapid guitar riff, combined with intermediately screamed/almost gutural vocals that I don’t know why remember me of (good) greek black metal, like early VARATHRON or ROTTING CHRIST.

I must disagree of the reviewer before me that says “Vlad Tepes” rocks. Vlad Tepes plays an original style of Black Metal, much different from the norwegian post-InnerCircle era production. The insert of the cd says it all.

Other parts of the Vlad Tepes’ songs remind me a lot of old school Black Metal like VENOM and either BULLDOZER.

Another thing must be said: although the rough production, both bands on this play present a decent sound, with all instruments audible. This is very important for the appreciation of the emotional guitar solos that Vlad Tepes perform on some of their tunes.

Belketre makes its half of the cd a chapter a part, singing with scaring demoniacal vocals and playing a hypnotical distorted guitar timbre... Hell, what is that sound??? It looks like atmospheric black metal without keyboards in a precarious recording (4 tracks). These guys just play an original Black Metal which could be compared to masters such as BATHORY and BEHERIT, although more latin sounding!!! Another great “B” blasphemous, brutal band!

I just recommend this classic to the true Black Metal invokers!!! Praise Satan!!! Hail the BLACK LEGIONS cult!!!

Utterly essential - 98%

torn, December 8th, 2005

Ignoring a lot of the dubious, single-demo side-projects of the main LLN members, there have been some incredible releases under the LLN banner. This highly sought-after split between the controversial Vlad Tepes and the always-excellent Belketre is one of the very best LLN releases.

Vlad Tepes start the proceedings with a commendable lack of pomp or pretension, instead offering us thirty minutes of rock & roll style grimy black metal. The traditional rock influences are quite prominent in this material, more so than on other Vlad Tepes releases that I’ve heard. Some of the riffs are, in fact, positively upbeat; ‘Under The Carpathian Yoke’ could almost be danced to!

The production is, for Vlad Tepes, surprisingly good. Every part of the drum kit is audible, and guitar riffs are easily discernable. There is a strong bass presence here, so if trebly black metal isn’t your thing, this could well appeal. Of course, this is not a ‘well produced’ affair, and everything is wrapped up in a veil of grime and filth that confirms Vlad Tepe’s status as a black metal band rather than a rock band with extreme vocals.

On the subject of vocals, don’t expect anything remarkable here. If you’ve heard, say, Natterfrost, or Abbath’s earlier vocal style, then you’ll know exactly what to expect. This undeniably suits the musical style, but is disappointingly generic, especially compared to the Belketre half of this split.

Overall, then, this is my favourite Vlad Tepes material. I’ve never been a big fan, and ‘La Morte Lune’ especially did nothing but give me a headache, but this is a far better attempt all around. It’s not groundbreaking, and it’s not original, but it is a solid set of ‘black & roll’ that certainly compliments the French’s reputation for filth and perversion.

The true filth, though, and the real reason for hunting down this record, is Belketre’s half. Equally devoid of any musical theatrics, they present us with a further half hour of depraved and nihilistic audio violence. In contrast with Vlad Tepe’s more bass-orientated sound, this is a shrill, screeching affair. The buzzing guitars scythe their way through the mix, and are devoid of any bass frequencies at all. The actual bass is quite low in the mix, but is easily audible because it is the only instrument (apart from the kick drum) that actually makes any bass frequencies. The drums are slightly muffled, but this works well with the trebly nature of the production, and rounds off the very analogue sound.

I cannot praise Belketre’s vocalist enough. The hatred that he spews out is truly unmatched by anyone I’ve ever heard; Even the supremely evil Old Wainds never managed vocals quite this depraved. The lyrics are screeched out in a way that is hard to describe; they’re not mid-range yapping like Vlad Tepes, but neither are they as shrill as Behexen or Burzum. The most noticeable element of the vocal work is how human it sounds. This makes a refreshing change, and makes them all the more horrifying because they’re so ‘real.’ This is not the sound of a band trying to sound like pure evil; this is the sound of a man filled with unadulterated hate and anguish.

This compliments the music perfectly, and especially on this material, because the ‘solitude, sorrow and despair’ elements of Belketre’s self-proclaimed ‘solitude, sorrow, despair and hate’ tag are not as present in this music as in their other releases, leaving the hatred to envelope everything.

The songs are broken up by a couple of brief interludes, in which mildly distorted guitars pluck out ominous melodies, and distorted, bestial grunting reverberates around the speakers. This makes for a fantastic contrast to the ‘proper’ songs, and is a genuine contribution to the music, rather than the almost obligatory keyboard intros / interludes that a lot of bands use. The main body of songs alternates between fast drumming and screeching chords, and mid-paced ‘rock’ drum beats with Belketre’s trademark twisted melodies. Opening track ‘Guilty’ reminds me of the Belketre classic ‘The Dark Promise’, with it’s ‘rocky’ overtones and simplistic chord work. Elsewhere, ‘Night Of Sadness’ begins with some sorrowful lead work, and reminds me of my favourite Belketre song ‘Twilight Of The Black Holocaust’.

Put simply, if you’ve heard Belketre before, then you’ll know what to expect, and you should be salivating at the prospect of this. Although my absolute favourite Belketre tracks are from other releases, this is the best release overall, comprising a consistently quality set of songs, and what is probably the most fitting production they ever achieved.

If you have not heard Belketre before, then you have not heard black metal, and you need this in the same way that thrash fans need Sodom and Destruction.

Black star rising - 97%

cinedracusio, July 24th, 2005

Two of the Black Legions' behemoths united their power and hatred, creating one of the greatest black metal releases of all time. This is a true demonic massacre. Introducing the two "aces": Vlad Tepes and Belketre.
Tepes include in their music victorious melodies, that evoke the vision of a battlefield, the bloody fight and the glory that is achieved through suffering and courage. "Vladimir's March" is a great example. However, they are not so primitive as black often is. The riffs are well executed, and there are solos to be found in their songs, so you won't find them too monotonous. The definitive killer track is "Drink The Poetry Of The Celtic Disciple". Speedy, relentless, cool riffs, solos make for an intense experience.
Favorites include "Massacre Song From The Devastated Lands", "Drink The Poetry Of The Celtic Disciple", "Diabolical Reaps".
Belketre are raw. Very RAW. The guitar sound is thin and sharper than a spear, crushing the speakers. The drums have a loud sound, especially the cymbals, and there are some seriously fast rhythms that bring to mind a butcher that fucks the hell out of his prey. It is all about despair, repulsion, and sheer inhuman terror. The vocals are horrifying. The screams are incredibly powerful and venomous, at times the guy sounds like drowning in his own hate. Possibly the most powerful vocals EVER. Anyway, I liked Belketre more.
Check out "Guilty", "Night Of Sadness", "Those Of Our Blood".
Highly recommended for all evil kvltsters and mandatory for any fan of Legions Noires.

Menacing, a true Black Metal ambush... - 98%

Nortt, May 17th, 2005

Les Legiones Noires have put out a lot of material - some terrible, some great. This release is the epitome of great Black Metal in the old school vein, and is by far the best LLN material to date.

Vlad Tepes kick the split off with the split "Vladimir's March." This song is a short, melodious instrumental, with Pagan overtones. The guitars are played with an almost "sorrowful" tone, and the drumming is nothing short of brilliant, in Black Metal standards, of course. The overall feeling of the song is that of a celebration, as Gommorah mentioned before. The next two songs, "Massacre Song from the Devastated Lands" and "In Holocaust to the Natural Darkness," are short, but brutal, songs that bombard the listener with Wlad's painful-and-hate filled vokills, slightly above the norm, simple, powerful, drumming, and "rock-ish", upbeat guitar riffs. Now for "Drink the Poetry of the Celtic Disciple." This is probably one of the most impressive Black Metal symphonies I have ever heard. The song starts off with a misanthropic guitar riff, and maintains this riffing, interlaced with short, speedy solos, The drumming constitutes simple blastbeats, with malicious, vocal overtones. Vlad Tepes maintain an old school, folk-ish vibe to their music throughout the entire split, and give the listeners an onslaught of pure fucking Black Metal.

Now, for Belketre's half of the attack. If there ever was a Black Metal band with members that sound certifiably insane, this would be it. Belketre disgust your ears with misanthropic and raw. This is almost painful to listen to, but that is not a bad thing. Belketre is what Black Metal is all about: hatred and despair. There is a substantial lack of bass to the production, but it adds more feeling to the music. The vocals are comparable to Krieg or Maniac Butcher, angst-filled and raspy, but maintain harmony. The guitars hiss with feedback, and the drumming is simple, but fits the music perfectly.

Overall, I prefer Vlad Tepes' side more, because of the raw, sorrowful, folk-inspired masterpiece they create with simple, old school Metal technique.

Favorite Tracks:
"Drink the Poetry of the Celtic Disciple"
"Under the Carpathian Yoke"
"Guilty"
"Those Of Our Blood"