Bellrope – You Must Relax
Reviewed: March, 2019
Released: 2019, Exile on Mainstream
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The first 3 and a half minutes of YOU MUST RELAX consists of nothing but screeching feedback that sounds like a drill bit scraping against sheet metal and some dude wailing in the background. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce you to Bellrope.
Born from the ashes of Black Shape of Nexus, Bellrope is more of an experiment in physical endurance than a typical sludge metal band. The Mannheim based four piece features one guitarist, one drummer, two bass players and quote “a hell lot of amps and speakers”, and the vibrations emanating from YOU MUST RELAX will have you doing anything but.
When Bellrope finally does settle into a riff, the sound can only be compared to a threesome between Eyehategod, Neurosis, and Sunn O))). Droning low end hooks and sub-atomic percussion barrel through “Old Overholt” and the title track, while CBD/Herinunder takes a 17 minute mushroom induced drive into the desert, with the disembodied spirit of Dave Chandler’s Wah Wah pedal behind the wheel.
There’s a lot to process on YOU MUST RELAX, but those with more adventurous musical tastes should also find plenty to enjoy. There are genuine hooks across the album to keep you tethered to reality while hypnotic riff repetition and swirling noise assaults your senses from various vantage points. Bellrope aren’t an easily digestible listen by any stretch, but YOU MUST RELAX is a worthy enough palate cleanser while you wait for LIFE METAL or the next EHG album to hit shelves. Enjoy at your own risk.