I was rather fond of Black Shape of Nexus, they had a certain something that set them apart from the usual purveyors of metal. From their ashes emerge Bellrope who from the opening minutes of “Hollywood 2001/Rolltrost” seem to be engage in some form of ritual disembowelment. Howling and screeching from the vocalist and the same from the guitarist doesn’t do a great deal for me. The second track “Old Overholt” has a little more structure to it pursuing a fractured motorik riff ,which is good but then they layer more noise of the top and it sort of loses focus. I imagine this is some form of catharsis for the protagonists however it seems a little inchoate to me, it eventually settles down and gets into a repetitive groove which makes some sort of sense. Apparently it is a paean to a form of whisky.
The title track “You Must Relax” features a very dirty bass sound and the morose duelling vocals of Arne Heesch and Yvonnne Ducksworth of label-mates Treedeon. I was reminded of The Fall’s Spector vs Rector in terms of intent. Guitars are extremely heavy. After 11 minutes of being battered senseless you feel like you need a bit of break but it is not forthcoming from “TD200” which slams itself into you for another 11 minutes. I am sure it is deliberate but I can’t help but feel that the vocals needed to be higher in the mix. That this is followed by the 17 minute “CBD/Hereunder” is further evidence that the band are not going to give you an easy ride. Described in the promo as ” a heavy combination of chugging guitars and psych-like leads locking into a repetitive, almost entrancing groove”, you need a strong stomach and backbone to last the course.
The band who dub themselves as “the total absence of tonal sanity” which is pretty spot on. The album releases on Exile On Mainstream in February 2019.
Fans of Celestial-era ISIS, early-Cult Of Luna, and Old Man Gloom will find something to tickle their ossicles here. For me there is something to hook onto especially on the concluding track but overall I feel a more coherent production but have served them better.