March 26th, 2012
Release length: 1:07:04
With a time span of just over an hour and seven minutes, it can be pretty easy to get lost in this effort for quite some time, especially with how solid the production is. Emerge carries a largely modern sound to it It’s rather crisp with a bit of a lighter atmosphere overall, but isn’t afraid to show off what edge it has. The guitars have a lower distortion to them that works with both the softer moments, and the harder, faster passages that make up the aggressive side of Bejelit. The bass isn’t the most impressive, but it’s loud enough to be picked up on while meshed with the regular chords, and acts largely as support than anything else. The vocals are handled in a similar Sonata Arctica lighter style, but always full of enthusiasm. These also offer some harsher moments when necessary to the music itself. The cymbals come in with what sometimes sounds like a slight wash to them, which really is a shame, but still relatively clear and enjoyable while closer to the forefront of the mix so they aren’t drowned out, though don’t do the same for the rest of the kit. The snares sound rich and thick with a bit of a lower approach to them, while the bass kicks are about the same with a subtle click that can be mistaken for a thud when things pick up, or the guitars are at their loudest.
Despite what little fault there is in the recording, Emerge is a gripping release right from the start. There are plenty of powerful tracks that incorporate a great deal of emotion that instantly create many memorable Power Metal experiences. “The Darkest Hour” is one of them, but for different reasons. This track does usher in the group’s more aggressive side, but the mixture of that and lighter, emotional material doesn’t work out too well. It’s still a solid offering with a chorus and climax that is memorable and will have you singing along. The following “C4” manages to combine the two elements a lot better. The faster guitar work picks up here and there, especially towards the end, and the vocals really push for an enthusiastic, as well as passionate chorus far more impressive than the previous one. The overall tone here does feel a little darker and chaotic, which matches the lyrical ideas perfectly.
Not all of the material here does have an aggressive side to it, and after “C4” it seems to die down a bit. “Don’t Know What You Need” still retains a really heavy presence that is carried well with the faster guitars and subtle keyboard performances in the background. The enthusiastic vocals really set it apart from the rest in the higher falsettos reached that match the energy poured into it throughout, really helping to set up a strong chorus that immediately hooks the listener by the throat. Things do calm down a bit for “Emerge,” driven by catchy riffs that have a bit of technicality to them, allowing the bass to really shine through more than just back-up in some parts, all while still catering to the slightly mentally disturbed vibe. The chorus is a little softer and melodic compared to the chugging riffs, and the two work together well thanks to some of the short yet sweet transitions in and out. “Fairy Gate” is a very interesting and rather quick track compared to the rest. At just under three minutes, the additional eight bit video game music that comes in at the start from the keyboards gives the song a bit of a Gothic Horror tone, which returns to normal largely for the catchy chorus. The main verses have a few additional notes in the background, but for the most part remains quiet, helping to build up to the enthusiastic push that follows.
But, not all songs manage to stick out in a positive light. “Dancerous” has a very unoriginal appeal to it in the sense of the aforementioned band, finding more of a softer, poetic approach being taken throughout. There is emotion being brought in, but not much, making it feel uninspired and more like filled aside the singing. Unfortunately, that’s also like what “Triskelion” sounds like. The track clearly does try to bring in a bit of a Folk influence to the main verses, and the vocals really don’t offer any sign of boredom or exhaustion like the music can give off. The Humpa-like music is definitely upbeat with a tired atmosphere, though the chorus drops that all together for a far more melodic experience that is a bit more revitalized, but still nothing too impressive. Thankfully the bland material seems to end here as the rest offer up engaging tracks, such as the over eleven minute opus “Deep Water.” The variety here keeps the listener on his or her toes much of the time, utilizing some symphonic elements through the keyboards, as well as faster and aggressive passages mixed well with beautiful slower sections, and even some soothing areas that allow the music a bit of a break to give off a sea-like atmosphere.
With the exception of “Dancerous” and “Triskelion,” Emerge proved to be a very strong album. Despite it’s obvious similarities to Sonata Arctica, Bejelit manage to often weave a more unique listening experience, and offer up some more emotional and aggressive material in many songs, while also feeding into a bit of a poetic and beautiful atmosphere. When the energy is felt in the music, you can’t help but get caught up in the rhythms and infectious melodies found throughout the album. If you’re a fan of Power Metal, then this lesser known group is well worth making yourself familiar with. Given the two less-than-enthralling tracks, you still have nearly an hour’s worth of solid music to get lost in. Of course, if you’re one of those people who can’t really get into what Sonata Arctica bring to the table due to how “weak” and “innocent” it sounds, then Bejelit is definitely something that will strike your interest.
01. The Darkest Hour – 5:09
02. C4 – 5:28
03. Don’t Know What You Need – 4:37
04. Emerge – 6:13
05. We Got the Tragedy – 4:51
06. To Forget and to Forgive – 4:59
07. Dancerous – 5:07
08. Triskelion – 5:14
09. Fairy Gate – 2:57
10. The Defending Dreams Battle (Aruna’s Gateway) – 3:44
11. Deep Water – 11:19
12. DefCon/13 – 1:09
13. Boogeyman – 6:08
|Overall Score: 9/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Bakerteam Records.