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NYC Black Metallers Belus are Reborn on 'Apophenia'

The trio's Vendetta Records debut is gnarled and complex, spanning black metal, doom, and even a little rock 'n' roll.
Photo courtesy of Belus

Belus has been knocking around the tight-knit New York City underground metal scene since 2010, but have followed a more circuitous route than many of their peers; it took Belus some time to find out what kind of band they truly wanted to be, but have fully come into their own over the past couple of years. Now, they're about to drop their first full-length album, Apophenia, and it's a scorcher.

The Brooklyn trio's Vendetta Records debut is gnarled and complex, spanning various extreme genres but hewing most closely to a malevolent black metal core. Belus' started out as a more down-tempo, blackened doom project, but over the years, has morphed into a much more aggressive prospect (albeit one that has retained a finely-wrought appreciation for atmosphere and dynamism). The overall vibe is as tense and ugly as a 5AM walk home in New York City.


Apophenia cultivates a real feeling of immediacy—"Avarice" blasts and howls with palpable urgency, careening by so fast you can almost hear drummer Jacques Johnson's bones rattling—but hasn't fully abandoned its morose doom impulses, or a newfound penchant for smatterings of black 'n' roll grooves. "Illusions" and "Omens" offer excellent examples of the band's control over tempo and mood, and lengthy album closer, "Equilibrium," makes a solid argument for saving the best for last.

"Apophenia is a result of more than three years of writing and refining material into a cohesive piece of work. The process was made all the more enjoyable by working with our engineer Nolan Voss, who is a good friend with a truly great ear for heavy music," guitarist Matt Mewton tells Noisey. " Apophenia intends to bring the listener on a journey, from an initial awakening or cleansing, that then twists through a myriad of dark, decaying landscapes. We attempted to invoke various feelings of despair, angst and grief, as well as an acute awareness of one's own mortality. While there is a certain meaning behind a lot of the songs, we also hope that listener will garner their own interpretation of the music."

The album drops October 13, and you can listen to it early below. If you're in or around NYC next month, be sure to catch Belus at their album release show on November 17 at Bar Matchless.

Kim Kelly is breathing in smog on Twitter.