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Apparently, 'Goatreich-Fleshcult' is supposed to be Belphegor's best album. Whatever reasons there may be for this, the band's fifth offering does exactly what is expected of it: churning out god-bothering lyrics, insanely fast blastbeats and nothing but uncompromising brutality. These three things actually make up the musical formula that is Belphegor, setting the standard for every single album of their career. So, does 'Goatreich...' offer anything new at all? To anyone who has heard the band's other releases, the obvious answer to that question is probably a resounding 'No'.
It seems the music this time round hasn't change one bit, yet it hasn't been improved upon either. The scything double-barreled guitar force that is Helmuth and Sigurd is still here in spades, the roadrunner speed of Torturer's drum work still batters the s*** out of everything, and the lyrical content, if sometimes so traditionally blackened death metal it could be mistaken for Anton Lavey's 'The Satanic Bible', still seeks to offend everyone possible. There is a slight problem however. This being that, whereas 'Lucifer Incestus' showed the band's better instrumental performances, 'Goatreich...' just doesn't quite match the quality or indeed uniqueness of some of 'Lucifer...'s songs, however hard it tries.
With 'Cruzifixus-Anus Dei' the album doesn't start out as well as it should have. Yes, there are the basic Gregorian chants and blastbeats found so commonly within black metal, and the lyrics are spat out with enough bile to make Satan himself ever so slightly ill, but it just doesn't seem to be as effective as, say 'The Goatchrist' was. Helmuth's vocals also seem to have taken a step down in terms of range, as every single word appears to be hurled, growled or screamed in the same way with a weakness that may put some listeners off.
Fear not however, for 'Goatreich...' does have it's stunning moments. In particular the Morbid Angel-style riffs and (as usual) excellent solo work keep every song here from becoming ultimately boring and repetitive. Every solo seems to weave through in a different way. On the furious magnificence of 'Bleeding Salvation' and equally as disturbing 'Swarm of Rats' (the latter of which having been recorded a few years prior to this album's release) Helmuth almost rips his guitar apart so violently that you could be forgiven for thinking he'd have to go through many guitar changes for 'Goatreich...' alone. They don't just appear after the second chorus either, as many standard song structures do. Sometimes, as on the somehow laid back 'Kings shall be Kings' and the unbelievably insane 'The Crown Massacre' Sigurd's lead guitar work can be heard even before vocals come into play, or ten seconds before the song ends.
There are still a couple of songs that 'Goatreich...' could do without though, as well as the slightly disappointing opener 'Cruzifixus-Anus Dei'. The slow-burning and eventually monotonous 'Sepulture of Hypocrisy' gives off a promising start, showing a very tense build-up, but when it carries on this way throughout the remaining four minutes or so, it seems to be more of a doom metal song than anything else. This is different, but in an album where such instant eye-openers as 'Bleeding Salvation' and 'Festum Asinorum-Chapter 2' engage the listener automatically, 'Sepulture of Hypocrisy' just doesn't fit well at all. Even the ludicrously titled 'Fornicationium et Immundus Diabolus', with its instant barrage of guitar licks and solos, can't take away from the fact that it just repeats itself for the next couple of minutes. And it's the shortest song on the album too, which doesn't really help.
I may or may not have been harsh in reviewing 'Goatreich...', arguably the best album according to true fans of the band, but my point stands that they could have taken more time to record some extra material, so that the songs mentioned in the previous paragraph could perhaps be cut. This isn't to say that the instrumentation isn't to a predictably good standard, because it actually is. Belphegor's fifth album, even at this point, won't change your mind of the band or indeed the genre at all.
Mother of pearls! This album may very well be the greatest that 2005 had to offer, even if we're only three quarters of the way through the year.
Given a lack of bands that really go for a blackened death sound, and the lack of quality material from the otherwise well reputed God Dethroned and a consistent crushing output of the well loved Behemoth, where else can one really go? Behemoth really doesn't have that raw BM feel anyways, which really begs "Where can I get my blaspheming brutally?".
Right here boys and girls. 38-41 minutes of crushing evil (depends if you have the bonus track. Unfortunately I do not). All kinds of it too. Fast, slow, noisy, egyptian flavored, clean, distorted, melancholy it's all over the place, and it all flows well.
"The Cruzifixus - Anus Dei" is most likely my favorite track at current time, much less on the album. I can absolutely not think of a better way to open this beast up. There's of course the latin intro (most likely from some b-movie of the horror variety), creating a rather oppressively dark atmosphere before the music hits. And it really does hit, with a sound that's basically an Immolation style with a bit less chaos and a but more traditional of a production. The chorus is especially pounding, the vocals are very unique to this band and this band alone. One will most likely notice that there are keyboard/synth/symphonic type accents on the reoccuring riff that first appears about 37 seconds in. I'm not much of a supporter of keys, but this is sparing, and perfectly makes that riff stand out and a head should probably bang at those portions of the song more than any.
The drums are definitely worth mentioning here. All the blastbeats are relatively wellplace and varied enough to maintain energy. I love the cymbal work as well, because it perfectly accents the music, but not overdone.
"Bleeding Salvation" has a more thundering approach and variance in tempo, while the proceeding "Forcinationium..." has more BM flavor and a slightly epic feel, despite being less than 3 minutes long. Evidence of magic.
"Sepulture of Hypocrisy" slows things down, and just kind of crushes whatever charred remnants are left of the listener. I hear this and see big stone hammers crushing the weak of heart and mind. The title track has some good trade-offs between the guitarists, and a thrashy death feel, especially the break around 1:46, which sounds like Slayer all over again. That might be a bad thing for some, but I'm nowhere near intimate with Slayer's catalogue like some, so it's not all that derivative to my ears.
"Swarm of Rats"continues the already displayed excellence, and "Kings Shall Be Kings" starts out with an almost Burzum-ish distorted chord line.
"The Crown Massacre" is somewhere between the first track and the title track, but completely fresh.
I'm really fond of the last track, maybe because it starts out with (dare I mention) Dark Funeral type melody that doesn't last long, and goes into a split clean/distorted melody which turns into a countermelody when the other set of guitars come in, all contributing to a very lamenting feel.
So overall, this album's a killer, and everybody needs to check it out. Right now. This album should have at least a dozen fellating reviews and it doesn't, which is a travesty. Give it a listen, you'll be glad you did, and at least another mile away from salvation, because that's what you want, right?
In closing, it's worth noting that the lyrics here are pretty silly, in that classic obsession/compulsion dealing with raping Christ. But if you're here for lyrics, especially from a very Austrian black/death outfit, I have to wonder how in the world you got here.
I can't believe it! They made it. They topped Lucifer Incestus.
Helmuth has never sounded this good. His vocals have improved a lot during Belphegor's career and have reached a new high. It doesn't matter if he does his awesome high screeching or his deeper growls. Everything he does sounds great. His vocals are multilayered and some reverb is added in some(very few) parts of the album which sound awesome. His guitar playing is tight, technical and the leads have never sounded this good.
As I said, the guitar leads in this album are absolutely amazing, Belphegor almost reached perfection in this department. The sound is as brutal as in Lucifer Incestus, yet they managed to bring some more black metal elements and melodies back into the mix.
Nefastus really blew me on the drums, he even reaches Torturer's level. I really had doubts that any new drummer would be able to reach his awesome drumming. Well, Nefastus did. Great fills, perfect doublebass and blastbeats and a very good style overall.
Barth's bass is audible, he mostly follows the guitars, but sometimes he breaks out and shows us some awesome bass lines. Good work.
Production is at least as great as on Lucifer Incestus. Every instrument can be heard well, the sound is tight and powerful, nothing is missing.
All songs on here are great, definately no filler here. The opener "The Cruzifixus - Anus Dei" starts with the typical blasphemous intro in Latin(I think?) and as soon as the guitars start, you'll hear the mentioned difference in the melodies. Some of Helmuth's best vocal work can be heard in "Swarm of Rats", you have to hear it yourself, but his part just rules:
"Jesus Christ - son of stench
Swarm of rats in a world of shit
Jesus Christ- castrated saviour"
Helmuth trades between high pitches screams and a low growl at least 3 times, just in this short part. Breathtaking.
Yet, there is one very different song for Belphegor to be found. "Sepulture of Hypocrisy" can almost be categorized as Doom-Death metal with infused black metal melodies. It's slow and crushing, something Belphegor never did this way before, but they pull it off flawlessly.
Belphegor always had very blasphemous lyrics, which are mostly about slaying christians and molesting, torturing and killing the son of stench(Jesus). If these lyrics are not your cup of tea(I love them), just listen to Belphegor for their great music. They have perfected their sound on this album.
This is IMO one of the greatest Black/Death hybrids of all time. If you are a fan of this genre, I command you to go to your CD store and get it immediately.
Best songs: All of them.
AAAAAARGH FUKK!!!! Yes, Satan’s favourite insane blasphemers have returned with yet another punch to the gonads of the rotting corpse of Jesus. Screaming forth with the usual winning combination of relentless blastbeats, spewed vocals and insane layers of melodious guitar chaos, Belphegor never fails to produce a crushing slab of violence. While this one isn’t quite as frantic as 2003’s Lucifer Incestus, it surpasses that album in terms of melodic structure – standout tracks like “Bleeding Salvation”, “Fornicationium et Immundus Diabolus” and “Festum Asinorum” are monoliths of ear-raping melody, burning into your brain with their searing genius. Elsewhere, “Sepulture of Hypocrisy” is something of a departure, being a slow crushing death-doom track – dropping far below the usual high-speed insanity, this one swings slow riffs like iron hammers in a stone corridor, smashing everything around it with sheer weight.
Lyrically, of course, there’s nothing new here: just the usual blasphemous profanity vomited forth from Helmuth’s scarred-up larynx. There’s maybe a slight bit less sexual grossout material (ditto for the artwork, which is devoid of vagina and breast shots this time, obviously a bid to avoid getting the album banned in Germany this time around) but there’s plenty of nunraping perversity all the same. While this hasn’t blown me away as much as Lucifer Incestus did, there’s still plenty of rotten carrion for fans to sink their fangs into here. It has everything a good dose of violence requires – solid songwriting, a good balance of melody and brutality and, of course, a drum sound with enough power to knock a building over at sufficient volume. So, proceed to your nearest wooden church armed with petrol, matches and a copy of Goatreich-Fleshcult and proceed to sodomize the lambs ov dog. Fukker.