Diverse, coherent, dark, progressive, haunting – Introducing: Belle Morte

Belle Morte is a musical project from Belarus, Minsk, playing dark symphonic metal with gothic/progressive flavor and melancholic vibe. The first single “Mercy” was released on Dec 9, 2017, accompanied by a music video later on. Debut band’s EP “Game On” was released in 2018. 4 tracks listed on the EP have asymmetric songwriting structure and jarring dynamic jumps from balladry to metallic symphonic bluster. Later on, Belle Morte collaborated with the Norwegian melodic death metal band “Addendum” and released “Mistakable Monster” single together. The song is about trying to find back to the ones you have loved and lost. A tale about two sisters, locked in different worlds. After the EP the band focused on producing a full-length conceptual album inspired by John Fowles’s “The Collector”. During this period “My Legacy”, “To Get Her” and “Lace” singles were released. The second Belle Morte’s music video was shot for the “Lace” single. The album named “Crime of Passion” tells a coherent story that started as an unhealthy obsession and stalking and resulted in murder, both from the side of the murderer and his victim.

The idea behind Belle Morte is playing on contrasts – in music, lyrics, and visual imaginary. It’s about seeing its own beauty in disturbing things, ugly things, and, vice versa, seeing the bad side in nice things which might not be that obvious at the first sight. Here’s our interview with Belle Morte (vocalist, lyric/music author), Sergey Butovsky (bass guitar, arrangements, sound producing) and Rostislav (drummer).

Beginnings:

Belle Morte: Back in 2015 my friend, who knew I was looking for someone to take care of arrangements for my songs, recommended that I contact Sergey for that matter. We met, I showed him what I had in GuitarPro, we also listened to a number of other band’s tracks, analyzing their arrangements (I recall we had stuff like Cradle of Filth and Behemoth on that list) and it looked like Sergey had a pretty clear picture of what we were trying to achieve. And when I heard the first demos of what he did, I immediately felt: this was it.
Then the EP followed, which was pretty well perceived – to tell the truth, even unexpectedly well, considering this was a first release for a fresh new band and we made almost zero efforts to market it. We started working on a full-length album, the songs became more complex and advanced and we understood that we want to be more than a studio project. We decided to gather a permanent line-up. So at that point Maria (keyboards), Ilya R (guitar), and Rostislav (drums) joined us.

Sergey Butovsky: Yes, back then our mutual friend asked me if I wanted to work on arrangements for a symphonic/gothic metal project. I always liked this kind of music, so I agreed at once. Turned out, I already met Belle before: we attended the same sound engineering courses around 2012. I remembered how we were testing the sound of different mics and she was singing – and I thought she had a great voice, so I was even more interested in joining the project. (smiles)
This full-length album is indeed a serious step forward, compared with our EP. It is a conceptual work of art, based on classical opera elements, such as leitmotifs, and even one story duet. Moreover, we’ve gone far beyond the initial genres. And it’s great! In the process, when we saw intermediate results, we had this moment of complete clarity and understanding that we should do more than just a studio project, we should become a full-fledged band.

Behind the name:

Belle Morte: From the books. Originally Belle Morte is the name of the vampire from the “Anita Blake” series by Laurel Hamilton. Don’t know why, but when I was reading the series, this name somehow seemed elusively familiar and it just got stuck in my head. So when our first single was ready to be released, I already knew what name I wanted to use for the band.

Inspiration:

Belle Morte: In general, I’m inspired by singers, songwriters. Besides, I’m a very visual person, so a good track followed by a top-quality music video gets me immediately. And also I have a thing about male chorus – I love bands who use several voices on the backing vocals during live concerts.

Rostislav: Inspiration comes from various things: nature, having a good or a bad mood, a film, a book, interacting with people. I get a lot of inspiration from different musicians, each in their own way. E.g. Rick Allen from Def Leppard didn’t give up and proceeded to play drums after losing his arm – his strength of will and spirit encourages me.

Sergey Butovsky: Inspiration is a complicated thing, you never know when it’s gonna hit you. In 2002, after watching “The Messenger” (with Milla Jovovich and Dustin Hoffman) I composed a new song in literally 5 minutes. And my very first song was written when I was reading “The Lord of the Rings”. In general, I’m inspired by people and events around me: my family, my friends. Besides, on multiple occasions, I got creativity boosts during sad events in my life, but it also happened to be another way around.

Belle Morte: Crime of Passion was very much inspired by a book – “The Collector” by John Fowles. Most of the songs have been directly associated with this story, and when we had the “skeleton” of the album, we saw the gaps and created all the rest of it, keeping it consistent. In general, inspiration comes from different sources, it’s hard to catch the very exact moment when it happens. You just find yourself behind the piano singing something new at some point. (smiles)

Teamwork:

Belle Morte: Up till now, it was Sergey and me working on new songs together. I put up the melody and chord progression, record the vocal demo, then discuss the overall song mood and relevant examples. Then Sergey does his magic and that’s it. But since Rostislav and Ilya P also compose music together, most likely we’ll change this process and make it more inclusive.

COVID-19:

Belle Morte: It definitely messed with our plans for 2020. Several band members and their families were ill, we had to postpone the rehearsals and recording sessions more than once. The last concert we had was online because of the shutdown.

Rostislav: It’s hard. Hard without gigs, without interaction with the crowd – I’m missing those emotions and drive, but I believe there are a lot of cool gigs ahead. (smiles)

Sergey Butovsky: Gloomy, but we are holding on. There are way more serious problems in our country at the moment, sadly.

Funfacts:

Belle Morte: Our first meeting with Sergey wasn’t actually the first. We used to go to the same arrangement/sound engineering courses some time ago, as he mentioned. There were only 3 students total, but I was so into the theoretical stuff, that I didn’t remember anyone but the teacher. So I honestly haven’t recognized him. He did recognize me though but decided that I had reasons to act like I don’t know him, so he just played alone. And only after some time I figured this out and we had a good laugh about that. I’m still not 100% sure whether he believed me.

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"I associate heavy metal with fantasy because of the tremendous power that the music delivers." - Christopher Lee

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