The musical project Belle Morte from Minsk, Belarus was founded in 2015. They describe their music as „dark symphonic metal with a gothic/progressive flavor and melancholic vibe“. The band continues to declare that „the idea behind Belle Morte is playing on contrasts – in music, lyrics and visual imaginary.“ That sounds quite interesting, I thought.
After the release of their debut EP “Game On” in 2018 and 3 pre-released singles, the six-headed band now offers its first full-length album “Crime of Passion”. I took a closer look at this production and I was not disappointed, so much can be revealed in advance.
“Crime of Passion” consists of 11 songs (total running time: 45 minutes), including an acoustic version of “To Get Her” as a bonus track. The lead vocalist and lyric/music author, Anastasia Schebrova (aka Belle Morte), is a graduated soprano, which is reflected in the musical style of the band. Sergey Butovsky (bass guitar), Maria Shumanskaya (keyboards), Ilya Rogovoy (guitars), Ilya Petrashkevich (guitars) and Rostislav Golubnichiy (drums) also belong to the current lineup. Talking of style, the band indeed performs a kind of dark and melancholic symphonic metal, without appearing one-dimensional or boring.
Musically, “Crime of Passion” is remarkable through its mainly dark atmosphere and complex, but still melodic song structures, an expressive soprano voice and varied instrumental accompaniments. To illustrate this, I want to discuss some of my personal favorite tracks.
After the short “Overture”, the album is opened by “Who Are You”, that shows quite well, what the listener can expect. Musically arranged compactly, the song is one of the faster ones on the album. The sound is clear and powerful, furthermore there are also several fast guitar solos to be admired. A solid start, that is followed by “If Only You Knew”, including some nice modern elements and a f***ing awesome guitar solo. Great stuff!
I also appreciate the pre-released single “To Get Her” very much. It’s a catchy song with interesting piano – and cello- arrangements, but also a well done guitar solo. Anastasia’s vocal skills come out particularly well here. In my opinion, “To Get Her” is one of the album’s high peaks.
“Beauty and the Beast” is a solid up-tempo song with an amazing hookline in the chorus. The song appears to be quite catchy and also includes well done guitar and drumming works. “My Little Demon” is surely another gem. Over a length of almost 6 minutes, the song convinces especially with its interplay of female and male voices, which reminds me a bit of Nightwish’s version of “Phantom of the Opera” in places. But this is not surprising, because Anastasia explains that “Phantom of the Opera” had been one of the overall musical inspirations behind “Crime of Passion”.
“Beauty Meant to Kill” is a gloomy-mooded ballad, inspired by My Own Private Alaska’s ”Amen” album. Again, it becomes clear how beautiful Anastasia’s voice sounds. Without any metal elements, it develops a unique flair.
„”Lace” is a dark lullaby, the kind you sing when you know nothing is going to be okay.“ That’s the way the band self-describes this 5-minutes-ballad. With fine piano and string arrangements and a strong guitar work, this song has a gloomy, bittersweet flair. There are also beautiful vocal lines and a melody that lingers. The ending of the song has something breathtakingly emotional about it. It’s best to listen to it for yourself, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. You will not be disappointed.
These songs represent the basic structure of the album very well. In summary, “Crime of Passion” is in my opinion a successful work by an ambitious band, which offers typical elements of symphonic metal, but also has its very own style that is definitely recognizable. In addition, there is a good production with a clear, clean sound that emphasizes the remarkable instrumental arrangements. Moreover, there are no weak songs to find, this also proves the overall good quality of an album that I can only recommend.
Release date: June 25, 2021
Label: Wormholedeath Records
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)
Album review by: Christian Flack