Released: 2004, Metropolis Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Hard-hitting and morose beyond all comprehension, Virginia’s Bella Morte have been at the forefront of their morbid scene for many years, and have grown sonically, in sorrow, with each release.
As The Reasons Die, the band’s 4th LP, does not begin like a standard Bella Morte disc, which usually showcases their hard side. Rather, this chooses to build slowly to a more impassioned tragic climax toward the end, picking up sickly steam with each sad track.
The use of electronics, while not entirely foreign to the group, is somewhat overemphasized this time—it is perhaps the downside to this new release. While generally comparable to bands like Katatonia, HIM, To/Die/For or early Rosetta Stone, they now feel more akin to The Cruxshadows, Clan Of Xymox, or later Rosetta Stone. The album begins like a Nothing Records disc, though the songwriting resembles—compositionally, at least—Lacuna Coil.
The most obvious pitfall in Bella Morte’s “upgrade” is in the vocals, whose mournful charm was in their distant isolation in the mix—the echo of a dying crooner, languishing in the studio alone. Now they are up front and center, and the frailties of Andy Deane’s voice are more obvious, and less easy to ignore. The improved production—while a boon to the guitars—seem more to amplify the artist’s limitations, rather than expand on solid strengths. But this is nitpicking; there is nothing truly terrible in the end.
“Many Miles” is classic Bella Morte through and through., with whispy voices transposed against harsh scraping sounds and dirge-like melodies. “Still” merges traditional Metal elements with a classic Goth Rock feel. “Forever Grey” recalls Cemetary, while “Another Way” and “Last Days” are heavier yet.
Ultimately, one will either love this or hate this, or love and hate the opposite of each.