Belle Morte – Crime Of Passion
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 45:57
Review by Beth Jones
Belle Morte is a Dark Symphonic/Gothic/Progressive metal project from Minsk, Belarus, which began in 2017. “Crime Of Passion” is a dark story, of obsession, stalking, and murder, told from the perspective of both the murderer, and victim. It explores contrast in a variety of ways, examining the possibilities that there can be beauty in ugly or disturbing things, and vice versa.
With that kind of theme, it’s obvious from the start that this isn’t going to be a light-hearted album, but that’s to be expected given the genre. The orchestral elements are apparent right from the start, in the opening ‘Overture’, which sets a haunting tone with mournful Cello and flute creating a chilling atmosphere, and Violins that remind me a little of the sweeping passages in Saint-Saëns’ ‘Dance Macabre’.
From there, we travel into a frenetic and dark track ‘Who Are You’. This is pacey and full of spikey guitars, giving it a huge sense of fear and urgency. Musically, it has everything you’d expect from a symphonic track, Sweeping melodies, crystal clear vocals, and a dark and serious rhythm. Here, and indeed throughout the album we find another juxtaposition that works so well in this genre, but also fits with the contrasting theme of the album. Wonderful classical Mezzo-Soprano vocals, sitting on top of heavy, crunching, guitars and thumping bass and drums, alongside the ever-present classical piano and string section.
Vocally, there’s elements of a few different vocalists in the style, but I think for me it’s most similar to Tarja, which let’s be fair, is no mean feat, and should be applauded.
Track 4, ‘To Get Her’, introduces some of the more progressive elements of the album, with cross rhythms, and the various instruments playing separate melodies, all knitted together. This also adds to the drama and tension of the album.
The ambient sounds, and synth elements also add to the darkness, making it a true gothic work. And everything being in a minor key adds to this feeling, giving this a truly haunting sound.
In, ‘My Little Demon’, we get some male vocals. I get why they’re there, but I’m not sure the voice fits with the darkness of the album. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the voice, and there are some growled parts that are more in keeping, but in my humble opinion, more could have been made out of the contrast element in the parts where we have clean male vocals. They need to be rawer. Let’s not forget that this guy is playing the part of a murderer on the album. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a gruff and unforgiving voice, but I think it would have helped deliver the contrast more effectively in this song.
That’s pretty much my only gripe with the album though. ‘Lace’ is my pick of the tunes. It’s very dark, and relies heavily on piano and vocals, which, as a pianist, and vocalist, always makes me happy! But aside from that, it’s a mournful ballad which appeals to my ever so slightly gothic nature. It’s also got a hellishly catch chorus.
All in all, this is a really good album. But I do feel this project has got further to grow yet. However, having only really been around for a couple of years, and having a large part of that taken up by the shitstorm of a global pandemic, I feel pretty certain that growth will happen. Definitely give it a spin if you like your metal on the Gothically Symphonic side.
‘Lace’ (Official Music Video)
02. Who Are You
03. If Only You Knew
04. To Get Her
05. Beauty And The Beast
06. My Little Demon
07. Broken Things
08. Beauty Meant To Kill
10. My Legacy
11. To Get Her (Acoustic Bonus Track)
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