Frankly, I didn’t have the best start with Beltez. Years ago I got a copy of their first album “Beltane”. In a crude mixture of misunderstanding of black metal in general on my side and lacking maturity of this release, Beltez became a synonym for the worst of the genre to me. A long time went by (I think more than 9 years) and “Tod: Part 1” showed that the band had improved a lot. Grown as musicians there were still some shortcomings in songwriting, but suddenly there came some potential in sight. Another four years later: Now their new output “Exiled, Punished… Rejected” is both a big surprise to me and the best material Beltez published so far.
The whole songwriting matured and now masters long running times of more than seven minutes a song easily, combining the whole record with a stringent vision. So many tracks continue where the other ended and the last riff of the very last number ties onto the very first opening theme of “Prelude”. “Exiled, Punished… Rejected” is an overall concept that is coherent from the first second.
Within the individual songs, Beltez show their development in an impressiv way as well. Where “Tod: Part 1” took some influences from Post-Punk/Wave, “Exiled, Punished… Rejected” continues the more subtile moments that reminded me of Downfall Of Gaia on the previous record. Nowadays there are more passages that show a movement towards post-black metal. More atmospheric moments, more soundscapes and shoegaze-like guitars. Often under heavy influence of effects, ranging from sounds eroded by the wind to more abstract interludes before the furious blasting grimness continues.
That’s a very important aspect on this album: Although there are tendencies for Beltez to transcend from traditional black metal, there are still many references to the roots of the genre. Haunting melodies, cold and majestic attitude, bleak atmosphere and desperate cries, from grinding slow pace to blazing high speed eruptions. All interwoven with those more playful elements already mentioned. Reduced to the minimum in one moment, intelligent arranged in the other.
In this exciting and manifold mixture, “Exiled, Punished… Rejected” is a fascinating album. All of the 46 minutes catch the listener and take him through an integral journey through the variable songs. All played on a very high level without any deficit. To prove the quality of this release by yourself, just listen to either “Adamantinarx” or “Repent And Restless”. But the other tracks aren’t any inferior. With this extremely strong record, I’m already looking forward to the next release of the band. When Beltez continues to develop this way, the next record will be a masterpiece.