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Funny how Napalm Records is the home of this band, as they stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the power metal & melodic bands on there! On second thought, better make that a bloody and mutilated thumb, as Belphegor really, REALLY shred on this album.
After the usual ambient intro, the band wastes no time in hammering you into pulp with the diabolically themed "The Goatchrist", with Torturer's furious blasting drums and some nice riffing over the top of it. They alternate blast beats with slower parts to deadly effect and the solo section even features some well-executed sweep picking alternating with crazed Slayer-like madness that comes off as more imaginative, chaotic, and fiendish as anything Messrs. Hannemann & King have played in years.
The rest of the album basically follows this template of frenzied blasting alternating with slower parts musically, and with (surprisingly) much better soloing than is to be expected by bands of this ilk. And damned if they don't work it hard and well, with a good sense of structure and dynamics. I could do without the obnoxiously triggered drums sound, of course--the snare in particular has that annoying tinny ring to it that bespeaks triggers. The rest of the album production-wise is pretty good, however, with thick guitars and a bottomy bass that is just audible enough.
Sigurd and Helmuth trade off some pretty sick vokills all throughout, with hoarse, gurgling death metal growls and scalding black metal shrieks making this sound like the soundtrack to a party in Hell. Then again, for all I know, Old Scratch may well listen to Hank III and the Damned Band (the country incarnation of his band). But I suspect that this would go over well nonetheless.
The lyrics, well, I' ll leave it to your imagination what titles like "Demonic Staccato Erection" (my fave song title on this album!) and "The Goatchrist" reveal. You can tell English is not their first language by the amusing grammatical errors that pop up left and right! There are lyrics in German and Latin as well on this album, adding a little extra flavor.
Overall, I recommend this album highly for a good dose of the concept of "blackened death" overall. This is what I think of when I think of that ideal, and you could do worse than these mad Austrians.