Friday, April 15, 2016

Video Review: BELTANE Winter Is Coming by Dave Wolff

Winter Is Coming
Spring has just begun here, but in New Zealand the seasons are reversed and winter is just on the horizon. The official release of Beltane’s new promotional video was March 19, and it’s available for free streaming on Youtube and Reverbnation. For you new readers, I have been writing this New Zealand band since the 2000s, when I contacted founding member Xan through his independent label Satanica Productions. We’ve remained in touch all this time and it’s a pleasure to see Beltane is still active and distributing their work on a DIY level. Promoting this video on their own social media is a logical progression, as Beltane have always relied on self-distribution. Most bands are doing so today, but Beltane are without the backing of prominent indie labels. The song is rawer and more primitive sounding than I remember the band’s past releases, with a guitar sound reflecting images of a cold, vast expanse and a forest in the far distance beyond, a full moon illuminating the snow. The picture is simultaneously serene and disturbing. The vocals are most unnerving of all the characteristics of this three-minute track, reflecting the harsh vocal delivery of bands like Belketre. Accompanying this is a series of scenic views: nature, isolated roads, graveyards, tombstones, gothic looking stone churches and the full moon at night. Some of the photos are added with a shaky effect as if showing these images through an old home video. It might sound standard to some of you but this arrangement of music and imagery comes across as quite creepy and comes from a persona source so to speak. The photos were mostly taken at the Wakapuaka Cemetery in Nelson, most often known as "The Cem" which is the spiritual home of the Nelsonian Black Metal Scene and has been since the mid-late 1990s. A few others were taken at other cemeteries where the band have recorded in or visited. Some live clips are added toward the end; offering some contrast. For those of you just hearing of this band, the song and video will make you want to experience more (there are links to their Reverbnation page and the official Satanica site if you wish to stream or purchase their material). -Dave Wolff

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