Belenos - Chemins de Souffrance
Northern Silence Productions
Celtic Black Metal
8 songs (48'22")
Release year: 2007
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Belenos might be that one band where the attached genre label may fool you. Chemins de Souffrance may be Celtic Black Metal, but not in a sense of Cruachany tin-whistle or Primordial atmospheric doom trips across the Eire. Belenos is Celtic, because it hails from Brittany, a French peninsula province, where the Celts supposedly settled last on the European continent before being eventually pushed out to the British Isles by the invading Germanic tribes. In a sense that the Celts were proud and fierce warriors, Belenos IS Celtic, as this album completely catches their fighting spirit. Many have tried it before and many will try afterwards, but Loic Cellier is simply on a fucking battlefield.

Some of us work better in teams, some prefer to create alone. After trying to do both, Loic has given his band another jumpstart by going solo. Reaching back before Belenos was a band with a full line-up, he combines the re-recording of 1998 demo Allegorie d’une Souffrance in Chapter I of his current opus, while Chapter II is filled with newly composed music. Because the demo is completely re-recorded and re-mastered to bring it in tow with the nowadays, the album sounds seamless and continuous, not as a sum of two individual unfitting parts. If you did not have a booklet, you would not even know some compositions were composed almost 10 years ago.

Most importantly, the music on Chemins de Souffrance is united throughout by its strong prideful warrior attitude, combined with some dark acoustic interludes. This is the sound of ancient soldiers passing through their ritual places of worship on the way to certain death and glory. Brooding intros of Oraison Funebre and Barrad Du, although composed 10 years apart, gather strength in a similar fashion, with the buildup exploding inevitably, incoming violence stomping all over the enemy face, busting out with double bass and blasts, sometimes in the old Gorgoroth way. Loic’s guitar leads (Funeste et Hivernal, Barrad Du) are horn calls to battle, and when the tempo slows down, the epic gait of this music takes over (War Hent an Ancou).

Undoubtedly black metal, Chemins de Souffrance, however, projects power and might instead of misanthropy and hate. Loic’s vocals, a far cry from the usual high-pitched shrieks, are almost warrior chants, gruff, but reserved, sometimes even on the clean side (Le Dechirement, Funeste et Hivernal). Production choices are also very appropriate, the drums being humongous and juicy, while distortion does not rule the roost, except the places where the riffing dies down, to create a feeling of ravens circling the blood-filled arena where fighters have lost their lives (Barrad Du). When Belenos is acoustic, it is teardrop clear, nothing distracting from the ominous mood. And when Loic is melodic (Le Dechirement), you know he has given it his all, and you are completely sucked in.

It might just be that Belenos, being original and unique, may still bridge the gap and will appeal to fans of many different genres. If you love the epic sounds of Doomsword, but can fathom blackened outbursts, you might enjoy Belenos. If corpse paint and constant abhorrence of mankind is not why you listen to metal, Belenos also has a lot to offer. And if you thought Summoning captured you in the past, but do not only appreciate constant electronic blackened symphonics, you still might give Belenos a chance.

Killing Songs :
Le Dechirement, Funeste et Hivernal, Barrad Du, War Hent an Ancou
Alex quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Belenos that we have reviewed:
Belenos - L'Ancien Temps reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Belenos - Yen Sonn Gardis reviewed by Vrechek and quoted 81 / 100
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