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Shred for Satan - 95%

Grimulfr, November 13th, 2008

If early christians had witnessed Belphegor they would not have had to demonize pagans, the truth would have been enough. Someone had to try to live up to the biblical descriptions, why not Belphegor. The bible insists all pagan rituals are abominations and claim pagans are not only apostates and blasphemers but fornicators and baby killers too. Harlotry is supposed to be a beloved practice in paganism, each temple having its own whore, but qedeshah, the Hebrew word translated in the bible as temple prostitute, literally means a consecrated woman, a midwife or perhaps a sorceress. Christians put a spin on hedonistic rites because pagans did not worship the one true god. Those temple sorceresses, strange powerful women, put themselves in trances and channeled the eerie voices of the gods and goddesses. Their voices were intended to sound weird and spooky, and their utterances were intentionally vague, bursts of gibberish. The oracles at the shrine of Apollo at Didyma were called the grunters. The nun imagery that Belphegor favors could be a reference to those oracles, holy women in temples.

Once more Helmuth offers vague bursts of gibberish in his godlike grunting and shrieking, and the rest of the band fills in ritual chanting. Vocals are always a high point on a Belphegor disc. The aural assault on christian values continues unabated, with powerful, intricate guitar lines despite the loss of Sigurd and overwhelmingly punishing drumming that at times is as oppressive as helicopter rotor blades whooshing down on you. Once again fast and slow, brutal and seductive, ominous and oppressive compositions are on display, and any true fan of the band has no squirm room for complaints. This is one band that need not evolve, just perfect the style and ramp up the skill level.

I oscillate between wanting to severely punish the monotheists for 2000 years of intolerance and persecution and living up to the pagan values of individual freedom to worship how you wish and whom you wish. When I wish to get worked up in a rage because I am in the former mindset I listen to Belphegor and embrace the christian mindset of do unto others as they have done unto you, eradicate them all, lead the lambs to the slaughter, sacrifice them all to the pagan gods, Belphegor leads the way. When I am not in that midset I listen to Belphegor anyway, shred for satan.

Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com

Mostly boring, with some highlights. - 65%

jerrit, July 31st, 2008

I had already read some disappointed reviews before getting this, so I was prepared for the worst. Thankfully, some good songs (well, only two, actually) save this from being a total waste.

Bondage Goat Zombie is a good opener, and Shred For Sathan is one of their best songs ever. But that's basically it. The rest is not terrible, just mediocre and boring.

Some other reviews here have said the problem is the slow songs. But parts of Goatreich - Fleshcult, like Bleeding Salvation, were slow and still great. At least, slow by Belphegor standards. Others suggested that the songs are too repetitive. But come on, their whole catalog is based on blast beats, tremolo picking, repeated choruses, and even chanting the same thing over and over (like the title track on Lucifer Incestus). Hell, the whole genre of black metal and its close relatives are all that way. And Shred For Sathan, the strongest song on this album, is itself very repetitive.

My impression after a few listens is that not as much effort went into the song writing. I can almost picture the process... In years past, they'd have thought of something, played with it, then decided it wasn't awesome enough and go fix it until it was. This time around, it sounds like they made most of the album out of whatever popped into their heads without fine tuning any of it. They can sure as hell play their instruments, but technical proficiency can't overcome weak material. Sorry, guys.

I still think Belphegor kicks ass. This doesn't spoil my high opinion of the rest of their catalog, and I'm looking forward to their next album. Only one weak release in around 16 years is not bad compared to a lot of bands.

memorable and fucking AWESOME - 94%

ozzeh, April 22nd, 2008

Belphegor have really refined their sound on this release. I will say that the drumming is much improved over their last outing as is the guitar tone. Unlike a lot of other bands, Belphegor continues to release crushing blasphemous black/death metal at a steady pace. What differentiates Belphegor from a lot of other bands is their uncanny ability to intertwine complex melodies into their brutal as fuck music (by brutal I mean ridiculously fast and very dark and dirty sounding).

Basically, if you liked "Blutsabbath" or older Belphegor in general, you will like this a lot. The guitar tone is a bit clearer and the songs are still explosively fast in signature Belphegor style. Their ability to vary the tempos in each song adds a lot to the music. The drumming is varied (and fast as fuck) and it is an ever present backbone to the frantic guitar riffs.

Belphegor are all about superior guitar playing. That is seriously why they exist. This is why Belphegor will always be a noteworthy footnote in metal history: their guitar playing and musical intensity. While music of this nature tends to become monotonous in musical content and direction, Belphegor keep it interesting. While this is nothing especially ground-breaking it is a Belphegor release and you can always expect good things from that.

Haven't I heard this somewhere before... - 50%

karma_sleeper, April 15th, 2008

I finally got my hands on the new Belphegor album, Bondage Goat Zombie. Frankly, it’s rather lack luster. Once again, Austria’s blasphemous blackened death trio is back to helplessly stun you with another onslaught of unrelenting Satanism and perversion in the hopes you won't notice how nauseatingly repetitious their album is.

Somewhat expectedly, both the album’s greatest strength and weakness is the fact that it’s fucking Belphegor we’re dealing with. Belphegor once again aims to obliterate all in their path. The band continues in their tradition of lightning fast percussions, leads to make your ears bleed, and sections of constant tremolo picking. From time to time, melodic interludes wash away that sensation of having heard all this before. But these moments are fleeting as you soon find yourself adrift in mediocrity once more. While these harmonious moments pace the tracks well, they also create the illusion of variety. Once pierced, we are no longer the deer staring hopelessly into the oncoming headlights of Belphegor’s train of destruction. We leap to safety.

Because every track fits the Belphegor formula so well, nothing remains to satiate our thirst for something different. The same patterns are there and seem to never end. Nothing adds a new dimension to the tried and true practices.

All in all, while Belphegor’s formula is nice at times, variety remains the spice of life. No matter how you package it, it’s not going to sell as much as the guy next door who’s trying something different to crank it up a notch. What’s awesome about it? You can tell it’s a Belphegor album. What sucks? You can tell it’s a Belphegor album. Do yourself a favor and pretend this was never released unless you’re a die hard fan.


Originally posted on: http://metalexnihilo.blogspot.com/

Bloodrayne 2: Return of the Blastbeat - 38%

masscows, April 15th, 2008

“We kill people, Loken is sucking blood out of people, she fucks people and is naked, and the entertainment is very sexy and violent.”

For those of you unfamiliar with Uwe Boll, allow me to explain the significance of this quote. Uwe Boll is a director who has grown infamous for adapting mediocre video games into even worse movies that are completely devoid of substance and he thinks his films are utterly brilliant works of art. He’s known for having butchered Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark, and House of the Dead, among others with his filmographical atrocities. This quote, to me, exemplifies everything wrong with his movies and it seems to be what he thinks makes them masterpieces. What does this have to do with Belphegor’s Bondage Goat Zombie? Well, everything. You see, if Uwe Boll were to make a blackened death metal album, it might sound more than just a little bit like this.

I really don’t know what the dudes in Belphegor were thinking going into this, but let me tell you that they came out with all sorts of wrong. Most of the aspects of their sound are still firmly in place: tremolo picked melodies (lots of them), groovy breaks, Nile-influenced chord progressions and enough blastbeats to give a normal person a stroke. When a band has developed a sound that is relatively unique and gets it down to a science, you can’t really expect them to put out anything too bad, right?

Wrong. This album, like any Uwe Boll movie, starts shaky, has a really boring middle section, a violent and predictable climax, a sex scene thrown in there somewhere (I’ll get to that later) and an ending that leaves you thinking “Why the fuck did I just waste my time with this?”. The material is still catchy, but the riffing seems to have lost a lot of the dark and epic feel from their previous albums in favor of a more bouncy and candy-like catchiness. Now, if they executed this well, I’d be all for it; some change would be good since most of their albums are pretty similar anyways. Unfortunately however, all of the faster songs blend together and the slower songs…well, they really suck.

Belphegor has been known to use rather basic verse-chorus-verse song structures most of the time, and this album is no different. Like I said before, the faster songs are all pretty much the same: minor scale melodies, some mid-paced parts to “balance” it out, shred solos with little variety and lots of blasturbation. Not too different from their other material, right? Well, no, at its core it really isn’t, but their previous material thrived on interesting counterpoint harmonies, use of varying intervals between the guitars even if they were playing the same melody, extremely dark and epic melodies, evil doom-laden slow tracks and at least somewhat varied structures. You know, that little thing called variety. The concept of variety is pretty much abandoned on this album, in favor of an extremely basic approach to each phrase: a simple melody with the other guitar playing an octave or major sixth below it, repetitive drum beats (guess which type, I dare you!) and occasional groovy rhythms; AKA by the numbers blackened death metal. This formula becomes completely trite after the first two songs of this album, and to be blunt, with the exception of the title track none of these songs really stand all that well on their own anyway.

“Nudity is very important for horror, it tells you we are not safe.”

Uwe Boll has been known putting pointless and awkward sex scenes into his films simply for the sake of having them. Seemingly taking hints from this mastermind (har har), Belphegor didn’t neglect the “sex scene” aspect of a …death metal album… and the song “Sexdictator Lucifer” certainly shows this fact well. The entire song consists of two-chord riffing, slow groovy drumming and…orgasm samples. Yeah, that’s right, samples of chicks climaxing. Upon hearing this song, I thought “This has to be a joke, right? There’s no way this band is serious anymore”. I’m thinking it’s supposed to be some sort of death metalled-up porn music, but that’s no excuse for how stupid the song is. That’s what the entire album feels like: an unintentional parody of their old style. For crying out loud, just look at the album title!

Simply put, Bondage Goat Zombie is an example of how far a band can plummet after releasing consistently solid material for such a long time. It’s not like they’ve completely changed their sound and made a joke album (F.O.A.D., anyone?); Bondage Goat Zombie’s posturing seems completely serious. This makes the fact that the album is so bland, repetitive, trite and downright boring completely inexcusable. I would most certainly recommend to anyone looking to check out Belphegor that they get any of their other albums before this one, and that it’s best to avoid this album altogether if at all possible. Oh how the mighty have fallen…

“I love the idea and we did good with the sperm zombie.”

…No, Uwe. No you didn’t.

Originally written by me for http://www.sputnikmusic.com

Hail Chaos...Hail Satan - 91%

MFGReview, April 13th, 2008

Music is like movies: there are blockbusters and underground movies/ b-movies. A blockbuster is expensive and costly. It’s possible that the movie is good and everyone’s happy, but it can also suck like hell (but anyway everyone is going to watch it). For underground movies, the expectations aren’t that high, and if the film is good everyone’s even happier, and if it’s bad, no one cares.
But now back to the music: “Bondage Goat Zombie” is definitely a blockbuster, straight from hell and filled with a lot of special effects, illustrated by Austria’s best actors Belphegor.
Yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief; “BGZ” can fulfill the high expectations. Why? Because it continues what “Pestapokalypse VI” has started.

The lyrics of the record deal the most time with Marquis de Sade’s lustful minds: a French author from the 18th century who was writing about sadism and pornography. The sex & bondage theme fits very well with the music and doesn’t only appear as decoration.
Concerning the music, Belphegor remains unaffected: powerful and brutal guitar riffs alternate with epic and dark leads which make an impact, already the first time you hear them. Compared to “Pestapokalypse”, “Bondage Goat Zombie” is more diversified: you can find here some fast songs (Bondage Goat Zombie [Probably one of the best songs ever], Shred for Sathan), but also some slow-going songs like the Rammstein-Killer “Sexdictator Lucifer” or the venomous “Justin, Soaked in blood”.
The same for the vocals: Helmuth’s chant-spectrum ranges from diabolical growls, to tenor-parts, till inhumane noises. Just awesome!
The drummer (Torturer) is putting the finishing touch to the record with huge blast-beat attacks, double base orgies and snare violations.

It was love at first sight! “Bondage Goat Zombie” is a 100% Belphegor album, with all the strengths and joys that made me a fan of the 3 Austrians, years ago. Especially with such a Ueber-Title song! Funny gimmick: The Ueber-Limited Edition (500 copies only) is accompanied by a Steel-Helmet, I ask myself If they will attach an original tank in the next limited edition…I would buy it!
Buy or Die and an Oscar for the best Action-Movie!!!
Hail Chaos…Hail Satan

Review written for: www.mfgreview.wordpress.com

A Step Up, Slightly - 92%

anathematized_one, April 5th, 2008

I must admit, when I saw the name of this album, I was a bit wary. However, upon listening to it, my fears quickly disappeared. This is definitely a step up from their previous works.

Well, you have what makes Blephegor... Belphegor. Blistering fast and heavy music, as you would expect. But what makes this album a step up from the previous works? How about for starters, a much improved guitar tone. The tone is a hell of a lot less raw than it used to be, opting out for a more crisp, clear, warm tone. This new tone works well with the other improvements they've made. You've still got those super sonic rhythms charging you though, but there is more melody thrown in here than they've ever done before. There is even some harmonization on the melodies. The leads and solos have also seen some slight improvement.

Vocally, it's still about the same. The drums are also still as you'd expect them. I just wish these two areas, which are good, don't get me wrong, could have seen as much improvement as the guitars.

When you get to track five, "Sexdictator Lucifer," you'll surely notice the porno sample. Don't worry, this isn't nonsensical like most black metal bands would use it. This song is actually in a porn type of grove, so it works really well, kind of like the Mr. Bugle song, "The Girls of Porn," only black/death style. That's also not the only slower song. Towards the end of the album, there are a few other slower tracks, which is somewhat of a treat coming from these guys. Yeah, they've had slower sections in songs before, but they've not had very many songs that were slow throughout.

The only downside to this album (and the reason I didn't give it higher than a 92), is in some parts of some songs, they do some pretty generic black metal stuff. Such as the diminished and minor arpeggios that are picked out slowly. They do counteract this though with having slightly more grove than they used to.

So, recap: you can definitely tell this is a Belphegor album, but it also stands out quite prominently among their other releases. Definitely not repetitive in itself or in context of all their work. Better melodies, more of them, and groovier rhythms. Don't let the name of the album scare you off.

Fucking Belphegor..... - 48%

GuntherTheUndying, March 26th, 2008

Alright kids, time for a truth sandwich: this record is not very enjoyable. Once again, Belphegor is stomping out furious black/death metal aiming to mindlessly destroying everything in sight, yet our prophet of goodness is finding this particular vision a bit redundant, especially considering how it’s exactly what could be expected. Now I have nothing against Austria’s insane trio, but I’m left finding this whole observation very bland, even despite its occasional fun. It’s like superhuman breeding: sounds good at hindsight, that is, until you get repulsive abominations. Forcing identical musical genetics to reproduce over and over makes those grand numbers rather deficient after several incestuous episodes, and when equating this same model, we are given “Bondage Goat Zombie.”

The album’s finest asset: it’s fucking Belphegor. Coming off of “Pestapokalypse VI,” our Austrian pals still work on summoning rapid tremolo pickings sections, lightning-fast blastbeats, and solos that’ll actually melt your face if you don’t watch yourself. There are some very noteworthy instances when slow, liquidating interludes mandate slower instrumentation built of melodic riffs and chilled percussion, which works very well when the times begin to get a little tough, but still not something they’ve never done before. Helmuth’s growls/shrieks fall short of his guitar playing, but I still wouldn’t call them damaging overall; he just doesn’t add much velocity toward Belphegor’s assault with those vocals, respectively.

The album’s biggest problem: it’s fucking Belphegor. After sitting through “Bondage Goat Zombie” several times, a few things are finally realized: variety seems fictive, monotony runs the show, and Belphegor have stuck to exactly what was expected. Every moment of every track is marinated in tremolo picking, blasting, and mid-paced canals typically found with a deer-in-headlights glance that lacks all kind of spice; nothing acts new or refreshing, and it’s been too long since an upgrade was applied, hence the interchangeable scenario. They did, however, add sexual perversion to the lyrical abyss instead of just Satanic/anti-Christian rants, yet doing so really doesn’t change anything important overall. I did enjoy those orgasm samples on “Sexdictator Lucifer,” mainly because it demonstrates lame black/death metal and sexual pleasure coexisting, which shall certainly never happen. Made me chuckle, honestly.

There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind “Bondage Goat Zombie” would be completely masterful if it had some variety aside from Belphegor’s one-staged formula, which can be very nice at times, but rather the opposite after experiencing these indistinguishable chapters nine times in a row. You know, I’m just hunting for music not born from the womb of the unoriginal, yet our generic indications point toward what was always suspected: it’s just the same thing on an endless cycle. Like the band? Buy this CD. Don’t enjoy these guys or haven’t ever heard their stuff? Pass along like nothing ever happened.

This review was written for: www.leviatan-magazine.com