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Belgarath - Requiem - 91%

Edmund Sackbauer, January 28th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Independent (Limited edition)

Belgarath are a black metal outfit hailing from Sofia/Bulgaria. Or should I say “were” a black metal outfit from Sofia/Bulgaria as they split up after having released their second album “Requiem”. This is a shame as the quality on display here shows a lot of potential and a band that has got a great feeling for interesting and captivating music.

The guitar riffs found in this one aren't too complex or fast paced, but they still manage to keep a memorable tone and add to the stellar melodies accompanied by the steady percussions and the snarling vocals. There is some solo guitar action in certain songs, but it's never too overwhelming. However, I will say that the rhythm and the lead guitar complement each other adequately. Sharp basic chords and classic tremolo runs are melted with eerie and hypnotic harmonies to create an outstanding atmosphere. The music creates a bleak mood and offers a certain kind of melancholic beauty.

What surprised me the most while listening to “Requiem” is the professional level of the songwriting. Each of the songs has a certain structure and Belgarath were successful in making the single tracks memorable without sounding fluffy or simplistic. There are quite a few rhythm and tempo changes and more complex elements but overall the songs follow a clear and stringent structure. The soloing parts are well implemented and never overstay their welcome. Relentless riff attacks are interchanging with atmopsheric pieces giving the whole thing kind of a hypnotic feeling. Epic guitar melodies are always present in the background lending each song a special character.

Belgarath have a fantastic talent for creating haunting and beautiful melodies that feel melancholic and depressive but also offer a glimmer of hope at the same time. They have worked with the interaction of musky moments and lighter pieces and have melted all those elements into one great piece of sinister and eerie art. The ambient soundscapes dwelling in the dark build a fantastic and gloomy atmosphere

The record is rounded off by snarling and powerful vocals and a nice and organic production job. The guitars sound crunchy and the drums have enough punch and a natural feel. While there is always something going on in the background and atmosphere is king there is a certain level of rawness giving the album enough grittiness to be of interest for any fan of heavy yet harmonic music. It is a shame that we might not see another record by these guys but let’s see what the future will bring.