Track By Tracks: Belore - Eastern Tales (2024)

About the album:

"Eastern Tales" picks up where the last album, "Artefacts", left off. The new King Riarl, accompanied by some of his army and civilians, is exploring the previously undiscovered lands in the east of his kingdom. The album tells of various quests during this campaign and of events in the royal capital of Therallas during the king's absence.

It's an epic and melodic Black Metal opus, balanced with light and dark atmospheres. The artwork is a digital painting by the amazing Aleksandra Klepacka, in which you can see one of the two mages present in the world of Belore, returning to Therallas (you can see a small part of the great fortified city at the top) after several centuries of disappearance. You'll hear more of this story in the track "The Hermit Awakens". Once again, I wanted to have a "concept art" cover that wasn't based on the usual graphic codes for epic/atmospheric black metal bands.

1. To the Eastern Lands:

It's an intro to set the tone for the album. I had this theme in my head since the composition of Artefacts, so it was natural for me to do something with this epic melody.

2. Sons of the Sun:

The album opens with this bright and folky song featuring Ella Zlotos on the tin whistle (as well as other songs on the album). The track starts with a cheerful atmosphere but quickly turns into an epic black metal tone with lead guitars and lead synthesizer, which introduces the main melody that will be the grand finale of the song. You can also find spoken parts, which are more present in this album, to support the storytelling.

The story is about an elite armed group called the "Sons of the Sun", who are close to the king during the exploration of the campaign. They are on a secret mission to retrieve the last egg of Endraïl, the dragon that destroyed Endeor centuries ago. Endraïl's lair is guarded by a group of fanatics who worship the dragon, whose skin and some of its flesh have been scorched by nearby volcanic activity. This makes them impervious to most physical pain. The main objective of this mission is still a secret.

3. Storm of an Ancient Age:

On this track, you can follow the beginning of the exploration of the campaign from the point of view of the Royal Navy. The mission was divided into two convoys: one leaving Therallas by land with the king, and another by sea with ships. The sea passage to the east was always impossible due to a constant magical storm, which would calm down enough to allow the crossing, but never stop. After several adventures, part of the fleet has managed to land and can now explore this new country.

You'll find various ambient sounds in this title, each one accompanying the place or events being narrated. The first chorus also has a 'pirate' feel to it, emphasizing the maritime exploration aspect. I've tried to divide the track into 4 parts: the start of the mission, the storm, the calm afterward, and the thrill of discovery.

4. The Hermit Awakens:

This title is directly related to the album cover. Erethor, a mage who has been missing since the fall of Endeor, is actually hiding in the Eastern Lands. The arrival of Riarl and the recent events in Therallas, with the seizure of power by his former fellow mage Denelïor, force him to come out of his isolation.

The atmosphere here is more forest and natural. The first part of the track has a dark folk feel, with a combination of deep vocals, acoustic guitars, and folk instruments. This track is more 'cinematic' than the others, the immersion is more present and I wanted to try my hand at orchestral composition in the passage before the final chorus, without going too far of course. But it works well and gives the whole thing a cinematic feel.

5. Denelïor’s Betrayal:

Here, for the first time on Belore, we find an interlude. I've always wanted to add a touch of dungeon synth to one of my albums, as 90s black metal remains my main influence! This track really marks the change in mood of the album's music and story, as everything becomes darker and more dramatic. Denelïor has just taken power from Therallas, while the king, Riarl, is absent. It's as if we're in his laboratory as he prepares his betrayal.

6. Battle for Therallas:

Now we come to the main plot of the album, the battle for the Therallas cover. Upon hearing the news of the putsch, King Riarl interrupts his campaign to return to his lands and reclaim his city. He is accompanied by Lynna, daughter of the ruling family of Emmera, the city that has been an enemy of Therallas for several centuries. Now allied, they will fight together to drive out the new magical cult that is rampaging through the capital.

This track is darker, more black metal, and less folk than the rest of the album. The tone is serious, the stakes are high and I wanted to convey the tension the knights might feel in the face of this epic battle. That's why I chose this track for the promotional video for the album because even though it's not very representative musically, it's very strong visually. Making the video was a very difficult and daunting experience, but the challenge was met!

7. The Rise of a Sovereign:

After a fierce battle and the escape of Denelïor, Riarl returns to his city, shaken by recent events. Scarred by the sequence of his coronation, the campaign of exploration, and the confrontation with his own subjects who betrayed him, he is deeply despondent. Standing atop the highest tower of his castle, he looks out over his still-smoldering city and realizes the reality of his status. He had gone from young king to ruler all too quickly.

This track closes the album with a touch of drama mixed with hope. In terms of composition, it's a return to our roots and influences like Summoning and Caladan Brood, which you can hear a lot more of on my first album while keeping slightly different riffs like the airy passage right after the chorus at the end, which is not usual in this kind of very typical composition.

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