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The first time I listened to this album, I was in disbelief. It was one of those rare moments; you know when you hear something that fills a void, that sounds exactly like what you would have created if you were capable of putting it to music? I remember thinking, where do they come up with this stuff? Maybe I was just impressionable, but years later the album still holds up almost as well, even as my tastes have changed some.
Blackest Ecstasy is the song that really stood out on my first listen. An out-of-place clean chord at the very start transitions to the opening riff, which has a very cool sound to it that's used to great effect on this album (I'm not sure if it's synth or some kind of guitar effect, but whatever it is it fits with the music and really sets the tone). The song structure is also great.
On song structure, so many metal bands and even later Belphegor albums seem to have a hard time keeping interesting songs heavy (or whatever you want to call it), and vice-versa. This whole album and several songs in particular are like a textbook example of how to pull it off.
The guitar work is great and caries the album. Bass is in there I guess, I'm sure I'd miss it if it were gone. Vocals are also excellent, though I liked them better before I read the lyrics. When it was just furious sound, my imagination filled in mood and imagery instead of words. After I read the lyrics, I started unintentionally understanding what Helmuth was saying at least some of the time, and the effect was lessened. It was kind of like seeing a movie made out of my favorite book or something.
The drumming is somewhat varied in a handful of places, at least by this band's standards. It's still mostly blast beats, but they work. It's supposed to be this way. Compared to later releases with other drummers, the speed and consistency isn't QUITE as impressive in isolation, but that's not what music is about. I don't know how many bpm these songs are or anything else like that. It's more enjoyable without critique of the technicality.
Production is actually pretty decent. Drums sound a little thin, but it's not a big deal. Listen to some of these songs on the Infernal Live Orgasm album to hear clearer drums and actual bass.
The last two songs of the album are my other two picks. The live version (Der Untergang pt II) is better and faster than the album version (Untergang Der Gekreuzigten), but this is great anyways. And Path of Sin is an excellent closer, leading to rain sounds, mean-sounding spoken German, then a minute of ridiculous screaming and gagging noises until it's over. Maybe the last minute of Path is silly, but fuck it, this music is most fun when you suspend disbelief and pretend that it's not all just an act. Anyone still curious would do well to bear that thought in mind and get this album.
Austria's masters of "cruel blasphemic hyperblast aggression" get the re-release treatment courtesy of Mercenary Musik. Blutsabbath was originally released in 1997 by Last Episode. For those who already own the original version, read no farther- this is an exact copy. For those new to the band, Belphegor play black/death and can be described as Morbid Angel meets Dark Funeral. They say their music "hits like the tip of a lance in Navarene's flesh." That is a pretty significant statement. That one lance thrust has obviously had lasting ramifications to this very day. How does Blutsabbath stand in comparison? It is basically a continuation of the sound of their debut album, The Last Supper, no evolution, but refinement is obvious.
Is it possible to sound more polished without giving up that raw undercooked brutal sound? The guitars are more prominent than on the debut, with some nice memorable leads and the songs have more dynamic structures. The dominant vocal style is black screams with the death growl all but abandoned, absent entirely on some songs, minimal usage on others. The vocals are at their best on songs that combine both styles. Overall the drums are a bit more blackened than on The Last Supper but it's not straight blastbeats throughout. "Abschworung" sets the standard for the album in terms of guitar leads and their is nice interplay between vocal styles. "Blutsabbath" is a great slow song while "The Requiem Of Hell" is a great fast song. "Path of Sin" ends with an atmospheric passage that also closes out the album. Is Belphegor as significant as that lance? Only time will tell...
Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com
Wow, Belphegor uses actual death grunts on this blasphemous slab of Satanic Black/Death metal. Case in point on song "Behind the Black Moon". This album really follows a conventional old school black metal style in the guitar riffs, but the drumming and intensity of execution of the music give it every bit a characteristic of death metal as well. Hence the term black/death when referring the Belphegor. If you are a fan of black or death metal, you will enjoy this album.
While being as intense as any death metal album, this one also manages to be a blasphemous as any black metal album in existence. Seriously, Belphegor are gladly going to straight to hell. The riffing on "Blutsabbath" is ungodly; from the solos to the main chorus power chord riffing, this is extremely well though out... as is the riffing on this whole album. If you don't like blast beats, don't listen to Belphegor because while their drumming is extremely fast and technical, it's primarily comprised of blast beats. Not just any blast beats either... but blast beats for Satan. Considering the heaviness of this release, the blast beats suit the music perfectly.
The tremelo picking is fast and frantic. This album is fast and frantic. Helmuth's vocals are black metal in nature but executed brutally in the death metal spirit. I can't really find any low points on this release. While none of the tracks may stand apart from each other, they all form a solid backbone of proficiently played Satanic death/black metal music, and at the end of the day what more can you ask for?
This has got to be one of the most overlooked metal albums of the mid-nineties. Imagine a mix of old Mayhem, Zyklon, and maybe a bit of Deicide and you get a rough idea of the sound here.
The guitars are crunchy and powerful, the bass is harsh and sort of on the mid/hi end of the EQ scale (while not being extremely audible), the vocals alternate between a perfect hi shriek and an occasional death metal growl, the drumming is top-notch, and the musicianship is perfection.
These guys must spend fucking days just sitting in a basement somewhere playing their instruments. Some sections of this CD are so well-written instrumentally that I can't imagine anything better. It sends a chill down my spine, for instance, to listen to the guitar attack on "Untergang Der Gekreuzigten".
Another thing I really enjoyed about this CD is how at one minute they are playing hyperfast black/death metal, at the next it's slow and creepy, sort of like old Thorns, and then onto something totally different. In that sense, it reminds me of Beherit a bit.
Overall, this album is a riff machine, Hellbent on sending your Soul downwards. Seriously fucking cult.
Belphegor: one of the most satanic, dark and evil bands. This is THE perfect mix of brutal death metal with black metal. Helmuth is one of the best things to happen to the undeground. His low and high vocals are just fucking EVIL sounding, and his guitar work is amazing. Some of his lyrics are in German, but the English lyrics are totally blasphemous. This band is Satan himself in music form. Brutal as all fucking hell riffs, mixed with dark black metal melody and tremelo picking, and thrashy solos that seem to be going faster than you can think. The drums are complete blast-fests that will cave your fucking head in.
Standout tracks: Blackest Ecstasy, Behind the Black Moon, and Blutsabbath
This band is seriously, one of the most evil creations of mankind. I gaurentee any christian would literally vomit upon looking at the art in the booklet (I won't describe the blasphemous and perverse sickness that lies in the booklet, you have to buy the cd >:), and any faithful sheep would probably be upset to tears upon reading the unmerciful lyrics. This band crushes beyond belief and ANY fan of ANY style of death or black metal, MUST check out this album.
If you hate god, you'll love Belphegor.