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Album Review

Bhelliom - Within Nowhere Bhelliom - Within Nowhere

Album Review written by Siv

What starts out as an alarm clock sounding thing, turns into a short melodic acoustic piece which reminds you of Inflames' Whoracle. It is then you would come to think of the fact that local metallers Bhelliom has a very significant influence in the Gothenburg based melodic death metal band. The first track, the above mentioned acoustic instrumental called "In The Arms Of Agony" runs on for 2 minutes before ending with the same alarm clock beeping sound and this is when the adrenaline and energy of what we know as Bhelliom kicks in.

The second track, "Behind The Mask" starts off uptempo with some catchy licks here and there and then the vocalist comes in. Speaking of the vocals, it has some resemblance to Anders Friden of Inflames during the pre-Clayman album days. Yep during the days when he wasnt actually singing clean. This goes on until around the 1:40m mark when the band does this so-called breakdown part which I can just imagine, a huge crowd of metalheads headbanging in sync to it, provided they play this song live that is. Then it goes to a sweet guitar solo before going downtempo again with a pretty melancholic riff and then going back to what I believe is the main verse/intro which the band creatively uses as the outro this time. Rating [7.5/10]

Next song, the oddly titled "Illucination" has an intro which sounds vaguely similar to "Behind the Mask". But eitherway, it's a pretty short intro before the vocalist comes in and does his thing. It's during this point that I realised that the bass drum kicks were actually pretty soft. Dont know if it was deliberate or not, but it wouldnt really create that effect on a person listening to the song using headphones. Once again, the guitar solos for this song was pretty impressive, maybe even the highlight of all the whole song itself. The track on its own had a generic feel to it, you just cant help thinking that you are listening to a Swedish melodic death band when you are listening to this track, or let alone, this album. Rating [7/10]

Next up is "Stranger In The Mirror" and I feel that this song had one of the most kick-ass intros around. Short, melodic, catchy and very sweet. By this time I was starting to wonder if the vocalist really wanted to be the reincarnation of Anders Friden and stick to mid-high pitched growling instead of trying to have some variations. It wasn't really an issue but I could foresee the listener getting bored of the vocals by the 7th or 8th track if this went on. Anyway back to the song, it's pretty much on the same level as the previous tracks but what I liked was the part around the 2:40m mark when the band goes into this really catchy downtempo riff which reminded me of Pantera. And you know how Pantera has songs that can actually make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Yep, thats what I meant, and Bhelliom did a brilliant thing here by playing that for a while before morphing into a guitar solo, and thats when you begin to realise the members of Bhelliom are no newbies. They definitely know whats good songwriting. Rating [8/10]

The fifth track "Images Of Torment" had an intro that sounded almost similar to tracks 2,3 and 4 and although it may not be that obvious, it certainly will get annoying if you listen to this album over and over again. But somehow, this song has a more Dark Tranquility feel to it. Especially the guitars and drumming. And it's also the first song where I actually hear the vocalist's real voice. That of him talking. Then comes this riff with a bit of an odd time signature in it. Pretty cool, and then comes the compulsory guitar solo. And once again, the guitarist never fails to impress me with the soloing, great stuff there. This song on a whole is pretty much slower and more laidback compared to the previous ones and it definitely is a good choice to have it in the middle of the album. Rating [8/10]

Track 6, "Agony's Dream" once again proves my theory that Bhelliom does have a similarity in all their tracks when it comes to intros. But this song, somehow has a very "Arch Enemy" feel to it. Great drumming too. The vocals too sounds more sharper and raspier. And come the chorus and i realise that this song DOES sound a lot like Arch Enemy, even to a point where 5/6 of the notes used in their chorus actually comes from an Arch Enemy riff. Definitely not a good thing when it comes to originality. But I liked the part around 2:30 mark when the band does this simple headbangable riff. The band alternates between fast, slow and mid tempos in this song and in fact, almost throughout the whole album which makes it so interesting. My only peeve is that it sounded more like something out of an Arch Enemy CD instead. Rating 8/10]

"Sky High Under The Influence" finally breaks the whole same sounding intro trend finally. The band has a drum intro which transcends into this catchy rock and roll kinda guitar riff. Then came the bass, with a pretty catchy line. This song is actually an instrumental, a pretty short one but its definitely catchy. Not a bad way to let the vocalist rest. Rating [8.5/10]

Finally came the last track, the title track "Within Nowhere" and once again the band reverts to an intro which sounds similar to the abovementioned ones. The vocals seem strongest in this track compared to the rest. One thing I liked about this song is it's catchy melody. Definitely another good example of excellent songwriting. So this goes on until a little pause, and then comes the proverbial guitar solo and once again, it's right on, maybe one of the best of all the solos in this album. The song goes on, maybe sounding a little too generic but it definitely retains its charm and catchiness and I could foresee this song being a permanent fixture on playlists everywhere. Rating [9/10]

All in all, I believe Within Nowhere was definitely a very good effort, and also, one of the best local releases this year. But I do have a few nagging issues about it, firstly, the way the songs start. Majority of the songs have similar sounding intros and I don't mean by tempo, but rather, by note. Secondly, the bass just doesn't seem to be there. I dont know if it's deliberate or not, but somehow I felt the basslines in this album when actually audible, weren't really that innovative, more like following the guitar. It felt like the bass was there just for the sake of having one. I felt it would have been more impressive if the bassist had a few catchy lines here and there to spice things up. Thirdly, even though the production quality was pretty decent, some parts of the album, you could not really feel the atmosphere. I know this is a subjective issue, but overall, the musicianship was awesome, especially the drumming and the guitars and of course, the memorable solos. Bhelliom definitely hasn't disappointed its fans and would serve as a good representative to Singaporean metal.
 
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