The French Black Metal scene is establishing itself more and more as one of my favourite scenes of this style, AES DANA, the brilliant HEOL TELWEN and now BELENOS. The band from the north of France is most probably the most Black Metal-rooted of the bunch. They still are Celtic, but instead of integrating the Celtic elements into their Black Metal, the band around mastermind Loic Cellier is utilizing interludes of the Celtic kind and apparently is keeping its songs a bit straighter (I do not know their previous albums, so I have to rely on hear-say).
“Chants De Bataille“ is BELENOS’ Adipocere debut and after a Gregorian intro “L’Ombre Du Chaos“ sets out with pretty powerful Black Metal, before they surprise with an acoustic break and overall offer very variably tempoed Black Metal, with a light choir in the background. With this the Frenchmen also show pretty well what we can expect, style wise as well as qualitatively, because even though they are not merging Folk and Black Metal all the way through, the approach of BELENOS still has its very own appeal, setting them apart a bit from their colleagues.
But they still don’t get one-dimensional, after the interlude “Chemin De Brume“ “Vers La Victoire“ emerges even more varied, from atmospheric passages up to hefty blast beats, again with this kind of light choir-like singing, before “Prélude Guerrier“ is another dramatic interlude and “Ar Galv Brezel“ is almost completely Celtic/medieval, great! Another stand-out track is the closing “Funérailles”, which is a lot slower and also contains a lot more clean vocals.
Altogether BELENOS are a bit heavier than comparable bands, but also create a very credible atmosphere and with this, too, completely convince, if you like this direction, then you should definitely check out BELENOS! (Online May 21, 2006)