Wednesday, 7 March 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Hemelbestormer, "A Ring Of Blue Light"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 02/03/2018
Label: Van Records

“Hemelbestormer's musicianship is excellent, and signals a new maturity in the band's evolution.”

"A Ring Of Blue Light" track listing

1. Eight Billion Stars
2. Clusters
3. Towards the Nebula
4. Redshift
5. Blue Light
6. The Serpent Bearer

The Review:

Crafting heavy music that is at once original, attention getting and accessible is no simple task. There are absolutely many bands who skillfully offer fantastic albums with a lot to offer in terms of creativity. For Belgian quartet Hemelbestormer, however, the feat of doing something especially different comes through a non-denominational approach to metal, winging elements of doom, progressive and sludge into its second album.

"A Ring of Blue Light" is one of the more interesting releases of the young year simply for the fact that, rather than embracing or promoting the shopworn notion of defying categories, Hemelbestormer features music that reflects a range of influences that come together within every track, rather than standing as is typically done: 'here's the fast song,' 'here's the contemplative song," and so forth.

"Eight Billion Stars" begins the recording with an atmospheric pacing that melds well with "Clusters." The lolling chords here crest into a thicker river of sludge. Hemelbestormer took some criticism early in its arc for taking too liberally from its inspirations. What comes across from the start of "A Ring Of Blue Light" is more of a desire to take that feedback to heart and forge something new. The guitars of Jo Driesmans and Filip Dupont carry the day on "Towards the Nebula," as the band hits its midpoint, while Frederik Cosemans' drumwork and synths represent well elsewhere

The 14-minute-plus "Redshift" seems intended to be the zenith for this album, and it is in fact a really promising song that might have possibly benefitted from tighter editing, since, about 11 minutes in, the switch in pacing feels forced in an otherwise sturdy doom-influenced song. At other turns, there are moments when spot trims could have improved the overall composition – brief cuts like "Blue Light" underscore this, with the reliance of short songs that feel like there's more there, and long tracks that could use a firmer approach. Regardless, Hemelbestormer's musicianship is excellent, and signals a new maturity in the band's evolution.

With the closing notes of "The Serpent Bearer," a showcase for the band's heavy music potential and its willingness to push some boundaries, you leave "A Ring Of Blue Light" with a great deal of hope for what this invigorating four-piece can come up with next.

"A Ring Of Blue Light" is available here

Band info: facebook