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Seal Of Beleth : II (Reissue)

Raw, lengthy and bludgeoning, this re-release of Seal Of Beleth's early work is a reminder that the Finns really should produce some new material!

Seal Of Beleth's first demo, 'Doomsanity Control' from back in 2010, was recently given a glowing review on these very pages, and this 2011 follow up is another strong release. Both were given a limited CD digipack release by GS Productions last year, giving fans the chance to check out the early days of the band from before the release of their debut full-length, 'Slow Music For Dead People' back in 2013. It would be nice to see a new album, but for now we can content ourselves with this foray deep into the bands back catalogue.

Consisting of four very lengthy tracks, all well above the ten-minute mark, 'Seal Of Beleth II' is a weighty, bludgeoning slab of relentless, sludgy Doom. Opener, 'Forneus' clocks in at over 18 melancholy minutes and is an immediate statement of intent. Beginning with an unsettling movie dialogue clip, it progresses unhurriedly into slow-paced, brooding and crushingly heavy doom. Downtuned, distorted and sludgy, it draws you into its hypnotic, nightmarish soundscape and never lets up. Even with its gargantuan running time, it never outstays its welcome.

Although it's a demo, and production levels are relatively basic, with quite a live feel at times, it is not too rough and ready, and offers a well balanced and powerful listening experience across its four furious tracks. Whilst the opening song is a measured, slow building exercise in cumulative brutality, its followed by an immediate burst of aggression in 'Old Man' which features vocals alternating between guttural bellowing and more subdued clean tones, and finally draws to a more reflective and melancholy conclusion. Each track is a journey with twists and turns through a dark and foreboding landscape of crushing Doom; a monochrome world of the deepest blacks and charcoal greys. It feels satisfyingly deep and weighty as each colossal track rolls on and is an ideal companion piece to 'Doomsanity Control' for anyone fortunate enough to bag one of the limited run of physical releases.

It's been four years now since the band's last full-length, the eponymous 'Seal of Beleth' (albeit there was a further single released in 2016), and hearing these early demos certainly makes me hope for some more new material. We can keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, this excellent release will provide a fix for fans that don't already have it in their collection. As we move into the season of light evenings, Glastonbury and Wimbledon, sometime it's nice to take a journey to a darker, more melancholy place, and Seal Of Beleth make ideal guides.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Forneus
2. Old Man
3. Goddam Christ
4. Whore Of Azrael

Duration : Approx. 57 minutes

Visit the Seal Of Beleth bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-06-10 by Nick Harkins
Aesthetic Death
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