Sometimes, you can convince yourself that you have listened to something before and then spend hours trying to remember why it seems so familiar. That’s what happened here – and I am pretty sure I hadn’t heard one second of the latest album from German black metal juggernaut Beltez until I pressed play on this, their third album, ‘A Grey Chill and a Whisper’ – but it immediately felt like I had.
I am fairly certain that the reason for this is it simply feels so unbelievably intimate. It’s a bit like when you meet someone and feel like you know them but know that, deep down, you really don’t. The sublime balance of each of the nine tracks on offer here and the fact that the album stays obstinately sat at the bar way past closing time, injects and grandeur and an emotion on moonshine levels that cannot be ignored.
Built wholly on a very black metal backbone, there are tendrils of far more progressive elements of the genre – yet the colossal burden of sheer heavyweight gloom is not once left behind. From the sparkling atmospherics of ‘Black Banners’ to the biting wind that blows through the title track, the balance and the attention to detail is phenomenal. If you are going to do something, then bloody well do it to the best of your ability.
Beltez have produced a belter. Let it tie your arms behind your back and kick you into the canal.