Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The nightmare before Epica. - 83%

hells_unicorn, December 23rd, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Call it a reductive observation, but there is definitely a carnival-like character to both Gothic metal (more specifically the symphonic variant that tones down the doom-influences) that is oddly fitting when coupled with the look sported by both its artists and audience. Images of Jack The Pumpkin King or some female equivalent thereof become difficult to avoid when dealing with the creeping quasi-lullaby demeanor and twisted waltz-like swagger like a merry-go-round from hell that tends to permeate the periphery of what is otherwise a more rock-oriented expression of metal's oldest expression, at least if one considers Black Sabbath's eponymous song as the beginning of things. As much as this sort of stylistic niche is effective in conveying the lovelorn sorrow that defines the sub-genre's lyrics, given the massive popularity it has achieved in the past couple decades, it would be quite becoming of any younger adherent to mix things up a bit to keep the style fresh.

For her part, symphonic Gothic metal upstart and operatic impresario Belle Morte succeeds in dwelling upon the cliches established by the likes of Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil by injecting a bit more of a progressive flavor into her craft. The first and most obvious comparison would be to that of Epica, though in contrast to said Dutch symphonic icons, the feel here is notably darker and a bit more neurotic in character. The songwriting structure has a degree of asymmetry and jarring dynamic jumps from balladry to metallic symphonic bluster that could be likened to the more prog-like approach taken by her Ukrainian neighbors and contemporaries Ignea, but again, the feel here has a bit more of a melancholy flavor that is a bit more nuanced that the groovy, almost industrial character of said band. It's basically a highly unique and overt synthesis of a Danny Elfman score for a Tim Burton flick with a melodic, Gothic metal assault.

In like fashion to a number of young acts, despite a fairly prolific degree of output over the past 3 years, this project has yet to field any longer releases and have a single-oriented approach to songwriting. Consequently, Game On is less a cohesive EP with a collective flow than it is a small compilation of individually crafted songs that stand more on their own. At the same time, there is a common theme of dreariness and melodrama that ties the whole thing together, as the woeful lullaby character of "Child Of Night" and "Devilish Deal" could almost be twin offerings, save maybe the more predictable structure of the latter, likely the product of the former being a newer song rather than a more tweaked rerecording. Even the closer and title song "Game On" has a sort of dreary power ballad character to it, drawing heavily upon Belle's fairly orthodox emulation of Floor Jansen's operatic croon to tie together what is otherwise a loose arrangement of orchestral and metallic elements.

About the only thing that can really be held against Belle Morte is that her songs are definitely crafted for ease of consumption, though the formula at work is innovative enough to make these 3-5 minute anthems sound a bit more drawn out than they are. The emphasis is definitely on catchy melodies with Belle herself being the principle figure, but the music going on around her is surprisingly adventurous and defies the standards of what currently defines pop music. It definitely has an eye affixed upon commercial viability, but most of your run-of-the-mill Evanescence fans would probably find this a bit more complex than what they are used to hearing. This could definitely fit in well with the likes of Beyond The Black, Angel Nation and a number of other bands riding the coat-tails of classic Nightwish, but it's a tad more unconventional, though that is hardly a bad thing.

Gothic metal done right - 80%

forestspirit, January 28th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

‘Game On’ is the first EP from the Belorussian Gothic metal artist Belle Morte. This one-woman project was launched in 2015 and all her music is available for streaming and download from the Bandcamp page.

Female-fronted Gothic metal bands are a dime in a dozen these days. It almost seems that everyone wants to become the next Nightwish. Well, not quite everyone. If you’re looking for another Nightwish clone with over-the-top symphonic, Disney soundtrack-style tunes, operatic vocals under the guise of a metal band you have come to the wrong place… Belle Morte has a very melodic, ethereal voice but is not quite as powerful as that of Tarja Turunen or Floor Jansen. So forget the Nightwish comparisons. Her vocal style is more like that of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation).

The one thing that I enjoyed most about this EP was the keyboards, the sombre sounds of the cello and violin sandwiched neatly between the guitars and drumming. It is impressive just how well all this works together. 'Devilish Deal' is the most prominent example of this. The instrumental arrangements are absolutely beautiful as are the vocals.

Overall, the only issue I have with this EP is that it is too short. ‘Game On’ offers four tracks of beautifully arranged and skillfully executed Gothic/symphonic metal. I cannot wait to hear a full album.

Originally written for:
https://valkyrianmusic.com/