27th January – Siege Music
1. In Extremis
5. In Origin
6. Heroin Holidays
Deathcore’s underground revival in bands like Thy Art Is Murder and Martyr Defiled has helped spawn a new wave of technically minded bands in the UK from Nexilva to Osiah and Monasteries. Belial, with ex-The Argent Dawn man Jamie Harrison on vocals, are no exception and their debut full length, Nihil Est, is testament to their ability. Mixing solid grooves with disgusting breakdowns sprinkled with dark electronics, Nihil Est packs an enormous bite and Harrison’s razor sharp screams drag attention with every song.
Comprised of songs from their first two EPs, Nihil Est captures the dark ascent of one of the UK’s premier deathcore acts, and proves the genre is still evolving. Belial’s Alien-like atmosphere is akin to staring into the void of space; the pulsing synths that underlay the start of “In Extremis” set the post-apocalyptic tone of the album and Harrison’s approach to vocals narrate the bleak story that the music paints.
Harrison effectively avoids the pitfalls of the genre; his vocals ebb and flow with the music rather than forcing them to be as low or screeching as possible. Flares of madness in songs like “Naught” and “Host”, where silence gives way to twisted screams, give Belial an aspect of rage rather than simple brutality for the sake of brutality. The mix of technically-minded guitar and drum parts weaves around a clearly-identifiable rhythm, meshing the two with drummer Adam Pedder’s intense blasts.
The true craftsmanship of their style lies in how their music is appealing both on record through the viscous atmosphere they create live. While comparisons with bands like Suicide Silence and Carnifex hold true, there lies a new approach to how Belial have incorporated those influences with more progressive ones – such as Born of Osiris and The Faceless - through many of the riffs and electronics.
Nihil Est shows Belial are ones you will want to watch in the UK’s heavy scenes as they tick all the right boxes.