To complete my South American quartet from American Line Productions, Mexico's BELZABET are challenging me with their album "Before Night Fall". Just like with their countrymen of LACRIMAE and Bolivian LILITH, they have chosen Melodic Black Metal as their genre and I don't know, if it is just me, but especially in this one many bands sound extremely exchangeable, even more so than in Power Metal. If it is really well done, I do not have a bigger problem with it, but the line between good and, ehm, not so good is extremely narrow here.
With BELZABET the problem also is over wide stretches of "Before Night Fall" that they are exchangeable as well, without any identity of their own. But not everywhere. If you take "In The Dawn Of The Eternal Life", you will get some clear vocals, not used as they usually are, but in the opener "The Return…" we are treated with quite standardized Melodic Black, with some symphonic keyboards, quite a few blasts, the raspy voice, just standard.
"Between Moons" (which is apparently still in the same song as "In The Dawn Of The Eternal Life", but there is a little break between the two) we then suddenly get calm breakdowns, dreamy lead guitars as well as a few female vocals, showing some real tries and also successes in spicing their sound up. The following "Mistress Of Frigid Night" also uses some spoken female vocals and a few more epic elements in the otherwise pretty usual Melodic Black. With "Tragedy In Theater Of Hermandstadt" I honestly am not 100% sure, if the song is too much in the mainstream of the genre or just outside of it, sounds good for sure :)
And as we only have one more song anyway, I figure, I could just as well name it, too, the title track. Starting out very atmospheric, with kind of whispered vocals, turning into a very nicely varied song, with atmosphere, whispered vocals, calm passages as well as some outbreaks, altogether a very well balanced composition that shows that BELZABET truly can write good songs.
So contrary to LACRIMAE with BELZABET the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones, presenting us with a far better balanced mix and especially the vocals are absolutely bearable, here, too. "Before Night Fall" still is not a genre highlight, but if you are into this style, then this one could be a potential buy, if you are through the established acts already and want to try more. (Online July 1, 2003)