Review: Belus - Apophenia

Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it wants. The way it stops and starts. Its seek for hope and light. And its desire for darkness, dissonance and despair. And I’m even more terrified how Belus feeds my hearts most urgent needs. For joy - within desolation. For trepidation - with playfulness. For purity - in diversity.

With all those conflicting elements, “Apophenia” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the one side, there are many ingredients where Belus reach far beyond the borders of common black metal. Playful, almost cheerful moments. Especially on the drums. When “Chasm” begins with some almost funky groove. Or “Monolith” incorporates disco-like vibe and off-beats. When there are patterns that exceed the usually straight forward approach that defines the genre ‘black metal’. Or when the harmonies indicate some slight moments of hope. All those elements might hint into a totally misleading direction since most take place on the very fist songs of the album.

But very soon Belus show the other part of their Janus-face. There are many discomforting moments, dissonant riffs and chaotic blastbeats. On most of “Apophenia” there is no light, no hope, no salvation. It is pure darkness and banefull atmosphere. Many moments remind me of German Unru which have a similar unsettling approach in their harmonies. Combined with a similar attitude on blast beats, Belus create discomforting moments that exchange with their open-minded influences for riffing and song-structures.

Some riffs are as eerie, morbid and playful as Negative Plane. And there are even some reminiscences to Dark Funeral in “Psychosis” as I might recognise influences from Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega in “Avarice”. But those similarities may result from the very own, forward thinking idea Belus shares with those named bands.

“Apophenia” is more than the sum of its ingredients and influences. It is a inconvenient and disruptive album. From chaotic and utterly discomforting moments to progressive and psychedelic passages to almost playful elements, there is a variety of ingredients that Belus incorporate to form their very own vision of dismal atmosphere. It is a forward-thinking black metal album for open-minded listeners.

And with its blend of nightmarish atmosphere, pure chaos and controlled segments, taken from many different styles, it is an unique experience within this extreme kind of music. It feeds my heart. Its constant hunger of ambivalent needs. But mainly its dark and morbid obsessions that find the beauty in the dissonance. I totally feel discomforted. But satisfied as well.