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I first discovered the amazing Belphegor through their music videos. I saw them as a truly dark and evil band to get into. This led me to purchase 'Blood Magick Necromance' which I choose purely for its good review score. However excited as I was I’ll admit that after the first listen I was a little disappointed by the lack of emotional connection I had as the listener, but the overall technical skill of the musicians inspired me to give it another chance.
What really stands out on this album is Helmuth's incredible skill as a guitarist. Personally I’d put him in my top three favourite guitarists ever, (only below Abbath and Nergal). Opener track ''In Blood - Devour This Sanctity'' (guest staring the lovely Meri Tadic of Eluveitie on violin) shows Helmuth’s ability to combine melody with breakneck tremolo picking, something a lot of people fail at. This is impressive as Helmuth is the main song writer as well as sole guitarist in Belphegor, so his level of input shows his creativity as an artist. The way he goes from melodic tremolo to palm-muted runs to harmonic tinged riffs to lead breaks and back without sounding like a show-off is definitely inspiring, everything he does seems to benefit the song.
Production wise everything sounds nice and dirty thanks to the work of the great Peter Taegtgren. The drums sound deep with a nice low rumble. The cymbals are bright without being overpowering. Vocals are a beautiful clear mix of black metal half-screams and death growls and Helmuth’s trademark half spoken half growled approach is in full effect here. The guitars also sound perfect. Deep low tones on the riffs, reverb on the arpeggio sections and a nice mid-tone-low-distortion effect on the tremolo sections. Also, the pinch harmonics squeal without fading away or being to high-pitched. You can’t really hear Serpenth's bass work which is a shame but 99% of black metal bassist seem to be okay with this approach. Sebastian Lanser and Norwin Palme add essential atmosphere to the album with their keyboard and orchestration elements.
Aesthetically the album looks great, maybe a bit too photo-shopped for me, I’ll always chose photography and make up over CGI for pure impact alone. Helmut Molech, Jenn Sky and Joachim Luetke all had a hand in creating the visual side of things. ''Necro Models'' Gerda and Melanie add the much needed nudity element important for any Belphegor release. Images of a girl masturbating with a goat skull or posing with only an inverted cross add to the erotic atmosphere instead of taking away from the darkness of the themes.
As I said before this is an album that draws the listener in multiple times. I found myself liking it more and more with each spin. I’d recommend this to anyone into dark dirty blackened death metal, a great album.
Necromancy = Bringing dead things back to Life?
Blood Magick Necromance = Bringing Helmuth back to Life!
Belphegor have always been a interesting band to say the least, but even I will admit the last couple albums have been downhill. Bondage Goat Zombie had seemed very rehashed to me, bringing nothing new to the plate like Pestapokalypse and GoatRiech – Fleshcult had before it. The album right before this, Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn, had some real face palm moments.
But moving on we have a new Chuck of Belphegor Flesh to play with. This album does not feel rehashed; in fact, it feels like new breath brought to Helmuth’s ideas. Gone are the songs that feel like filler from the past 3 albums. Instead of adding filler Helmuth has expounded on his ideas in new, never before seen ways.
Belphegor lives and dies by its riffs, and really, what band shouldn’t be held accountable for its riffs. Thankfully, this album has inventive new riffs that build an intricate foundation, giving each song its own persona, something you can't say about the past 3-4 albums with the acceptation of 1-2 songs.
This album strikes me as close to Lucifer Incestus, which I still consider their best album. Not that this album really feels like the same album. In fact, it’s about as far away from that album as possible, but that’s why it works so well. It hits you with epic, long songs and unexpected differences in each song while still having all the great elements of a Belphegor album.
Quite simply put, this album is essential for any fan of black metal, death metal, or blackened-death metal. So is this album a groundbreaking slab of inspiring metal? No, but is it groundbreaking in the Belphegor universe and a huge turnaround from and rise back to power? Hell Yes!
Belphegor's Blood Magick Necromance is definitely a step up from their previous album, but that isn't really saying much seeing as how Walpurgis Rites was a steaming pile of goat shit (except for maybe 2 songs tops). This album, I guess, would be considered the band's 'recovery' and shows that they still have it in them. I don't think that they'll ever do as well as they did before Bondage Goat Zombie, but at the same time I don't think that they'll ever make anything as bad as Walpurgis Rites again.
The first thing that I noticed on this album was the more classical approach to it. Songs like In Blood-Devour This Sanctity were inspired by classical artists and the effects of such inspirations works to the band's benefit. Unfortunately, though, the classically tinged musical structure won't save this album. Some of their more classical sounding pieces, like Fornicationium Et Immundus Diabolos from Goatreich-Fleshcult, were fucking epic and showed the band's talent. While this album did nothing short of showing talent, it did not impress me much at all. This statement is quite painful for me to say, especially considering I'm a big fan of their older stuff.
The production is also superior to Walpurgis Rites, as that album sounded weak and slightly thin, this album is crystal clear and is suitable for this band's sound. The production is one of the things that forces me to give this album higher than a 75%. Peter Tagtgren is notorious to some folks for bad production jobs, but I think he did an excellent job here. Nothing is overpowered, the drums sound phenomenal, the bass is pretty audible and the vocals are mixed in just right.
There is an abundance of songs on this album that exceed 6 minutes and, to be honest, I don't really know if I like that at all. Majority of this band's most powerful songs were under 5 minutes, whereas some of their longer songs to me seemed to drag on and on and on. . . Anyways, I really hope that they go back to their usual way of doing things and write songs that are short and sweet. I liked the title track, but I felt that it was a chore sitting through the whole damn thing, which is obviously a bad thing.
This album does have its many flaws (more than a Belphegor album should, mind you) but it is still a decent addition to their discography. We can only hope that their next album goes back to their roots and they pull themselves up by the bootstraps. I can't quite give it an 80% because it just was not that good to me, sorry.
Belphegor has been hit and miss in the last 5 years. Pestapokalypse VII was a solid release, one I enjoyed thoroughly, but Bondage Goat Zombie was severely lacking the kick to the teeth that made its predecessor so great. This was followed shortly by an entirely woeful outing, the utterly mundane and horribly produced Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn, at which point I fell off the Belphegor train. Hearing of this release in early 2011, I decided to give it a test run to see if what I would find would be a riff-filled land or a barren wasteland of cock-rock suckfest.
From the get go it was immediately clear that this was no Walpurgis Rites. This album is chocked full of riffs with a flavor not unlike their blackened death metal cohorts Behemoth, albeit edging towards more of a sinister atmosphere as opposed an epic-minded one, as is the case with Behemoth. As a matter of fact, this album is an absolute riff-fest from beginning to end! The necessary backing ambience is there in full force to round out these songs, and pair that with a completely solid drum performance a la Martin "Marthyn" Jovanovic, and you have exactly the kind of album Belphegor is supposed to release! No bullshit, no frills, just solid riffs with a slight tint of atmosphere to give it that extra oomph. The songs here are well-constructed concoctions of black and death metal, filled to the brim with tremolo riffs, dissonant chords, and blastbeats!
There's not much left to say besides that if you like it simple and straight foward, if what you dig is memorable riffs that get your head moving, then Blood Magick Necromance is an absolutely necessary album to add to your collection!
Most 'die hard' Belphegor fans agree that anything released after Lucifer Incestus isn't comparable to their previous albums like The Last Supper, Blutsabbath, and Necrodaemon Terrorsathan. While I do agree that Bondage Goat Zombie and Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn weren't nearly as good as their earlier works, I'd have to say it's different for the new album, Blood Magick Necromance.
As I listened for the first time I couldn't help but be interested in the Middle Eastern style riff on the first track titled "In Blood - Devour This Sanctity." It's an interesting song indeed. One of the things I like about this album as a whole is that the riffs are catchy. "Rise to Fall and Fall to Rise" has one of the best intros I've heard. On this album they've incorporated slow and doom-like sections. It's great because they do it well. For a good example of this listen to, "Discipline Through Punishment". It's a new sound, and it's certainly slower than their previous works, but it's done well.
The production and sound quality is very good. The drums aren't too low in the mix and the melodies aren't buried in distortion like a lot of records I've heard. I must also mention the vocals. The vocal technique, which sounds like black and death metal vocals fused, is really unique and menacing. Whatever Helmuth is doing, he's doing it right. One thing some people may complain about is at some points it sounds as if he's using effects on his vocals. Don't worry, these moments are rare. He's great at writing riffs, and this album demonstrates it. The vocals flow with the instrumentation well. Each song sounds distinct and differentiates from the other. I respect producer for polishing the sound without overdoing it.
The instrumentation is flawless. The guitars bring variety to the album. There are some acoustic sections and electroacoustic are used frequently as well. The riffs aren't dull and boring. They aren't overwhelming or technically amazing either, but they are good (catchy and memorable) nonetheless. The drummer does a fine job, especially for this style of metal...lots of blast beats! I can't say anything negative about the bassist either. It's not a very bass heavy album, like 'Tomb of The Mutilated' for example, but you know the bass is there. This album isn't technical enough to be considered a 'technical black/death album'. Don't get me wrong though, these guys can play their instruments well. Music doesn't have to be technical to be good.
If you are/were a Belphegor fan and you've been dissapointed with their albums over the last years, you should give this album a listen. If you've enjoyed all their albums expect nothing less with this one. Take your time with this one. Listen to it a few times before you really decide what you think about it. This is probably one of the best albums released in 2011 so far and it's definitely a quintessential blackened death metal album. Check it out.
In Blood - Devour This Sanctity
Blood Magick Necromance
Impaled Upon The Tongue of Sathan
Travel back to 2003 and with the release of "Lucifer Incestus", the depraved Austrian horde of Belphegor, uptil that point a promising black/death band yet to hit the spot, released one of the most blasphemous, brutal and well-written albums I've still yet hear from any band proclaiming to be 'extreme metal'. I can explain it no better than by saying if you should choose to name your songs "Demonic Staccato Erection" or "Fukk the Blood of Christ", or feature on your cover an orgy of well-endowed nuns centred upon the Dark Lord himself, you'd better have the riffs to get away with it.
Eight years, and now five whole albums later, is it conceivable to think Belphegor can still rise to such a precedence? What has come between then and now, "Blood Magick Necromance", has been patchy at best and this trend continues as the band strive continually to outdo themselves, not realising what has come before is virtually untouchable as far as this kind of bestial, violently unhinged black/death metal can go. The lightning speed of the majority of the band's creations however remains (and is unlikely to ever disappear) from the moment "In Blood - Devour This Sanctity" opens up; "Angeli Mortis De Profundis" openly exceeds this half-way through with such inherent spite that you wonder how Helmuth and his cohorts this week can continue to espouse such a visceral hatred of religion without ever treading the same boards twice.
What guaranteed/s Belphegor a place above average is their ability to pen a truly epic riff, and what was done with "Fukk the Blood of Christ" is done here with "Rise to Fall and Fall to Rise" and "Impaled Upon the Tongue of Sathan". These combinations of slow and fast, no doubt in mind of allowing their drummer a chance to catch breath, adequately serve to break the monotony of the all-out blastathons plenty of others (e.g. Dark Funeral) remain happy to engage in. It comes in the less inspiring moments nowadays that Belpegor begin to lose ground - probably evident from the atrocious cover - where they now sound like a parody of their former selves. Over-saturation of their own style in recent years has reduced the effects of each subsequent release soon after it's predecessor, even when an album like this contains more noteworthy than ones to be skipped. It all adds to a feeling of there sometimes being too much of a good thing.
It's harder than ever for bands at the truly extreme of metal to find a sound that is their own, and then to release an album almost without defect is virtually unheard of. Belphegor probably count as one of those bands, and while they hammer along like this will always be worthy of attention - just accept that perhaps their creative peak was some time in the past.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Belphegor was once a mighty and respected black/death band. However, their output since they signed to Nuclear Blast has been way too gimmicky and over-the-top for them to retain that status, despite garnering a significant fanbase in the past few years. Ask anyone that started listening to them more than a few years ago, and you’ll get the unanimous answer that everything they’ve release since 2005’s “Goatreich/Fleshcult” is mediocre at best. Their almost yearly tempo of releasing albums hasn’t helped much in this regard either. However, this new album is a rather different beast altogether.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the band has evolved in any way – it hasn’t. It’s the same brutal, ultra-blasphemous, if a bit tongue-in-cheek assembly. The production, mix and musicianship have all remained unchanged over the years, so if you’ve heard any album they’ve released in the past ten years, you’ll know exactly what to expect. However, this album marks a proper return to form for Belphegor, although little hints at that; Joachim Luetke’s cover art is surprisingly awful, and the song titles and lyrics as childish as ever. Yet this is the first Belphegor album in years that doesn’t have the safe approach of some fast and some mid-tempo songs, with two or three hits and the rest filler material. No, for whatever reasons, the band has decided to play from the heart this time around, and the results are audible. The album actually manages to hold your attention from the beginning to the end, a rare feat for Belphegor in recent years.
All in all, despite harsh overtones in this review, it really feels good to have good old Belphegor back. After everyone with a notion of quality extreme metal quitting on them, they’ve returned to prove that they can match our expectations for once. “Blood Magick Necromance” is no “Lucifer Incestus”, but it’s at least a truly worthy addition to the discography. Keep it up, Austrians.
Belphegor has risen from the underground scene recently and joined the ranks of extreme metal acts such as Behemoth, Cradle of Filth and Deicide. They have started headlining many a show and often are mentioned by 15 year old kids in Hot Topic. It’s starting to get ridiculous to see bands like Belphegor being listened to the common hipster, but I guess that’s what happened with Metallica too, so it’s relatively normal (if you want to be optimistic). I first heard them when a friend of mine started name dropping a bunch of black metal and death metal bands - most of which I have heard before, but I hadn’t heard of Belphegor. He stopped me and said “Wait a second there…you have heard of Marduk, Emperor, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass and Death…but not Belphegor?” like I had committed a sin against metal. He showed me their song, “Belphegor - Hell’s Ambassador” and the rest is history. But what the fuck has happened since Pestapokalypse VI?
Many people liked Bondage Goat Zombie, but I found the album to be the biggest piece of shit since Risk (I shuddered as I typed the name). I for some reason didn’t like how they went from being in your face, sacrilegious, blasphemic, demonic black metal with a death metal twist to atmospheric death metal hinting on black metal. For some reason, ever since they started trying to mimic the surrounding death metal scene going progressive or atmospheric, they have seemed to loose a little bit of their…I don’t know…oomph! They’re not as scary, nor are they as enjoyable. Der Geisterteiber (off Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn) was the worst track I have ever heard from a death metal band. And that includes abominations from Whitechapel and Suicide Silence (though it’s a stretch to call them death meal…). I am so fed up with this band, but I decided to give this a try for old times sake.
When I saw the name, I was put off almost instantly. Just say it with me, please - Blood Magick Necromance. It sounds like Prince got together with Slayer and they’re doing a combined effort. What the fuck. The second thing I noticed is the god awful artwork that looks like a pink sock mouthed goat with knife nipples and a robot torso is being bonded to some sort of shitty machine. And that is a pretty disturbing image.
Enough about the name and the looks. Many albums look shitty or sound like they’ll be shitty, but are decent (Bloodthirst by Cannibal Corpse, anyone?). I noticed first off that they went back to their roots a bit and I jumped for joy. I heard the first track and I was just so happy. I seriously shed a tear of joy. The album almost seemed to make up for the last two shitty pieces they made. The vocals were less death metal and black metal, but they were still fantastic. Helmuth has gotten a new style of singing. He’s using less of his throat, but he’s getting a really good sound from this. It didn’t work on the last two albums, but damn, it was great on this.
I will say they did have a bunch of slow parts and atmospheric parts on this album, but this is the first one that sounded right. The went back to the traditional style of doing blackened death metal being that they mix the blast beats of death metal with the often unstylistic origins of death metal to make an unholy offspring. It was interesting to hear them go back to this sound. Instrumentally, this album is phenomenal. The guitar was not underplayed like on the last two albums, nor was it too technical. I enjoyed hearing the bass again (without it being the only instrument playing…fucking Der Geisterteiber) and I enjoyed that they took a more meaningful approach to the music. It was seriously a moment when a band dug themselves from the grave. Megadeth did this too after The System Has Failed, Cradle of Filth after Thornography, and now it’s Belphegor’s turn - thank god. I can’t express enough how happy I am for this release not being horrible. I wouldn’t say that a old school fan would like it, but I could say that someone who appreciates music as a whole will dig the album. Please check it out.
Highlights: In Blood - Devour This Sanctitiy, Rise To Fall and Fall To Rise, Discipline Through Punishment, Sado Messiah
Perhaps it was titled in tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or perhaps not, but Austria's Belphegor have returned for yet another in a long line of diminishing returns, their 9th full-length album, Blood Magick Necromance, another celebration of ghoulish rituals, sadism and sensual deviance: black and death metal rolled up into one seamless being, dowsed in the slightly symphonic. But I often have to ask myself what happened to this band. Where did the terror of a Blutsabbath or a Necrodaemon Terrorsathan depart to? Their last album, Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn had its moments, but I've found this new album to be lacking in nearly every category aside from the production values.
Yes, Blood Magick Necromance is clean as a whistle, with the sort of professional polish that we've come to expect from higher budget artists like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, yet the actual material here is just as vapid as anything the former have released in years. The three piece are just as technically fluent as ever: new drummer Martin Jovanović laids down sheer concrete, whether he's blasting or pacing himself at a warlike rock rhythm, and Helmuth and Serpenth both create thick, accessible tones through the guitars and bass, with some good bottom crunch to the mutes. The vocals are the same mix of guttural and rasp that the band have always maintained, yet they seem by this point to be almost entirely devoid of character, despite their fluency. But the real drawback is just the lack of having almost anything stand forth from the predictable miasma of the band's compositions.
They succeed in creating some versatility here, and you'll notice distinctions between the faster, blasted material like "Angeli Mortis de Profundis", "Sado Messiah" or "Possessed Burning Eyes" and the slower romps like the bludgeoning, spacious "Rise to Fall and Fall to Rise" or the often churning chug/squeal beast that is the title track. Most of the tracks are carefully enough plotted to offer variation within themselves, so there's no sense of endless repetition, but outside of perhaps the thrashing force of "Impaled Upon the Tongue of Sathan", which brings 1-2 decent riffs to bear, there's absolutely nothing here that has drawn my ears back repeatedly. It's almost a shame, because clearly Belphegor have all the weapons at their disposal to create classic for the ages: high profile label, Abyss Studios production, good musicians, etc.
I felt similar towards their prior album, but that at least had a few pieces of quality that brought it to at least the shoulder height of their beloved, anthropomorphic devil goats. I'm afraid Blood Magick Necromance never really escapes the navel level, and it had me pining for the exciting blasphemy splattered over their earlier albums in the late 90s. Granted, their style hasn't changed much, still veering to and from the same constituent genres, but there is something more soulless at play here, and half the tracks, despite their cohesion, feel as if the band might be bored in playing them. This is the least impressive, and easily the least interesting thing the Austrians have manifest to date. This isn't a bad album, per se, but a few too many trips to the hell well, and the menace and sacrilege seems to peel free like a layer of blood paint.