Artist: The Belonging
Album Title: Ashes of the Fallen Throne
This is the second full-length album from The Belonging, an English band playing black metal.
The production on this record is ever so slightly raw, with just enough sludge on the guitars to take the polish off. The bass parts are clearly audible in the mix, which is a great touch that adds plenty of depth to the record. The drum sound is snappy, but the drums are in the back of the mix for the most part. The snarled vocals are one of the high points of the record.
The Belonging plays blasting black metal roughly in the vein of Marduk or Enthroned, with touches of melodic soloing here and there. For variety, there are plenty of tempo changes and riff transitions. I especially like the occasional slow sections, as on "Eternal Kiss" and the epic "Ashes of the Fallen Throne". The use of clean vocals and acoustic guitar on "Oracle of the Night" is also worth mentioning; the mix of clean and distorted styles on this track is effective and intriguingly different. In general, the guitar work on this album is very good, and the songs are more riff-based than those of most of the bands playing in this style, which I always appreciate.
If you're heavily into blasting black metal, this is probably worth hearing, as the riffs are relatively fresh, and the use of melody here is good. That said, this is ground that's been thoroughly broken before, and as well-executed as "Ashes of the Fallen Throne" is, I can't say that it really stands out. For me, this one's right on the border between recommended and not recommended, so check it out for yourself before you buy.
Standout Tracks: "Eternal Kiss", "Oracle of the Night", "Ashes of the Fallen Throne"