Belus – Apophenia (2017) REVIEW

I have what I like to call ‘vampire dog‘ teeth. Sharp incisors that ride a little higher on both the upper and lower halves of my jaw. They form the perfect razor sharp pincer for the inside of my mouth and oftentimes, when I’m excited about the thrill that is eating food, I’ll fully pierce a clean and deep hole on the inside of my mouth. It’ll rarely bleed long. No, but I taste my own blood at least every couple of months.  The coppery sting and the throbbing rip will inevitably cause a slow, descent into a truly blood-thirsty trek towards what I like to think of as ‘self-obsessed vampirism’. A naturally introspective, technically millennial, narcissistic vampire should obviously prefer their own blood in 2017. I’d liken this evolution of my self-effacing cannibalism to the post-modernist culture of atmospheric black metal.

Atmospheric black metal as a movement resembles a new age take on the second wave of true black metal. Obsessions with nature and depression are analogues for the past anti-Christian pro-Satanist activists of the past. While I rarely hear of atmospheric black metal one man bands chaining themselves to trees in protest, I wish I did. Leaders in the sound of populist atmoblack didn’t long rest on shoegaze, depressive Australianism and post-metal epithets. What was once unsavory as a cheapening stylistic movement has given birth to a trend of brilliant experimentation. The bluegrass and gothic country twang of Austin Lunn’s Panopticon, the woolen death-informed caress of Ash Borer,  and the baritone psychedelic doom of The Ruins of Beverast are just a few examples of atmospheric black metal artists branching themselves outward tastefully. Though Belus is a relative newcomer, they’ve been immediately impressive with their likewise evolved vision of black metal.

‘Apophenia’ is a stunning and complex full-length debut that spins a yarn of twisted, unraveling black metal guitar riffs that buzz with the darkened spirit of psychedelic doom metal. At times the allure of Belus’ guitar flow overwhelms the gently sinister vocal performance and the ‘sturm und drang’ black metal is known for facilitates an almost oppressive heaviness that is rarely felt in the faux-weighty world of atmospheric black metal. Dissonance, beefy guitars, and cage rattling vocals aside Belus’ music is ultimately still a series of atmospheric movements rather than memorable tracks. So, the gentrification of black metal hasn’t yet found its anti-hero but rather a very compelling pundit for continued progress.


Artist Belus
Type Album
Released October 13, 2017
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Echoing pangs of restlessness. 3.75/5.0