without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Few things in life are more depressing than autumn in the American south. The godforsaken heat of the summer that was once as heavy as scorching lead on your back just months before retreats only to be replaced with slightly tolerable temperatures and infinitely shittier weather. I’m also convinced that the early frosts don’t even make the leaves fall off the trees. It’s just the tired boredom of enduring another humid, sweltering summer that makes them hit the ground, a sweet suicidal surrender of botanical beauty.
Yes, it was precisely a time such as this when I discovered Belphegor in November of 2006. I vividly remember driving across the autumnal wasteland of Alabama one evening. The sun had set well before 5:00, and the twilight, as always, seemed to last for hours. As I sat alone in my car at the steering wheel staring vacantly forward, I began to realize that my eyes were growing heavy, my mind was beginning to wander needlessly, and I was in dire need of something more than the usual caffeine fix to escort me the final ninety miles to my destination. I needed a good bludgeoning.
I pulled over at a shopping mall, noticing the prominently boastful record store sign that was beckoning me to come inside, and I gladly obliged. I thumbed through the “metal” section in the store, turning my nose up at the sickening excess of whiny faux-metal bands with a sentence for a name and clad in tight blue jeans. I needed something real, something with soul as black as the night outside, and preferably something with an inverted cross (or two) on the cover.
Then I saw this album.
As soon as I laid eyes on it, I plucked the sole copy of “Pestapokalypse VI” from the rack without even thinking twice. The hellishly bizarre cover with its crow-headed clergymen seemed to make a promise to me that this was going to be an amazing ride. Even taking a look at the goofy back cover with the band in full “grvm” pose was not enough to sway my desire.
As soon as the album began playing, I was obsessed. The incessant, unbridled hatred with which the sound arrives in the ear the first time one hears Belphegor is truly a glorious moment to behold. The guitars possess the subtlety of an army of amplified chainsaws. The hypnotic black-metal-style blasting of the drums leaves you entranced by the disbelief that a band can have that much groove coupled with that much speed. The vocals are infused with a hate from the deepest corridors of the very depths of hell itself. And yet, I find it so beautiful.
I had read great things about Belphegor long before that fall and the arrival of “Pestapokalypse VI”, but I never gave them a chance. These Austrians were tested veterans of the scene who got their start well before the turn of the new millennium and had released other quality expositions in the blasphemous arts like “Blutsabbath”, “Necrodaemon Terrorsathan”, and “Lucifer Incestus”, all of which I explored and enjoyed after I discovered this album. There is just something about “Pestapokalypse VI” that sets it above and beyond all Belphegor’s other offerings.
The drumming on the album is not the fastest or the cleanest blackened death metal percussion anyone has ever heard, but it is a relentless churning inferno that is constantly driving the album forward through whatever stands in its way. Even today when I listen to this album, the sheer might and power of the percussive attack is staggering. The snare possesses an almost overloaded distortion element to its sound, perpetually pounding its way deep into your memory, while the bass kicks are precise, powerful, and ever present.
Helmuth and Sigurd’s guitar work is a brilliant combination of textbook black metal tremolo riffing and infectiously groovy death metal rhythms which create a ridiculously heavy album with enough catchy moments to keep you listening time and again. Such masterpieces as “Belphegor – Hell’s Ambassador” and “Angel of Retribution” are even so good and so secretly melodic that I often find myself singing them to myself in my head for no reason whatsoever other than they are just that catchy, and “The Ancient Enemy” is the fucken gold standard by which all other blackened death metal should be measured. This is pure blasphemous heresy and hostility of the finest metal order, an album that makes me proud to love blastbeats and hate humanity.
There really are no truly weak tracks on this album, but there is one that I decidedly do not enjoy as much as others. “Sanctus Perversum” is a bit subpar, as I find its satanic porn lyrics a bit childish and immature, and the actual song itself just does not possess the same level of quality as many of the album’s more memorable moments.
Belphegor has, of course, released other albums since this one. They gave us “Bondage Goat Zombie” in 2008, “Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn” a year later, and “Blood Magick Necromance” this year, and while they are all fairly quality releases, they are nowhere near anything for which I would pull the car over again.
Belphegor : Envoyed from hell by Lucifer,
This is not a perfect album, by any means, but it’s really fucken close.
Written for globaldomination.se
Pestapokalypse VI is a concept album about the black plague that continues on the story from the end of Goatreich - Fleshcult and has been the underlying theme throughout the later albums.
This album is a must for all fans of death metal and "well produced" black metal. Pestapokalypse boasts some of the greatest and most interesting songs Belphegor have ever written and Belphegor have written a lot of arse-kickingly awesome songs. From start to finish this album is amazing. No pointless filler, no pointless songs (apart from maybe Das Pesthaus, still cool though). The first song Hell's Ambassador is a masterpiece, opening with a slow menacing riff, which is but a taste of what is to come. The next track, Seyn Todt In Schwartz, picks up the pace a bit with a melancholic overtone played at lightening pace. This continues throughout the album with a good balance of slow to mid to fast paced songs.
Basically the vocals on this album are fucking great. They vary a lot, which is something lacking on the albums proceeding this. Helmuth, to me, has always been one of the best extreme metal vocalists and this album is a prime example of his talent. There is a bit of layering on this album, that sounds demonic as fuck (no Deicide overuse bullshit though). Secondly, the guitars are produced perfectly. Sigurd (lead guitars) is fucking incredible at writing good interesting lead which never fails to please. A perfect balance of dissonance and melody played at the appropriate moments producing "eargasms". The drums typical to Belphegor are basic but good and aren't just a blast-fest. Yet again quite varied.
Nearing the end of the album is Sanctus Perversum, possibly the crux of Belphegor's song writing abilities. From the epic chants to the ridiculous lyrics and fiery explosion of tremolo picked riffs and intense blastbeats, this song is "A" class. The last track on the album is a strange instrumental that leaves the album open for a sequel. Unfortunately this great sequel never comes.
Standout tracks - All of them.
Brilliant tracks - Hell's Ambassador, Chants For The Devil 1533, Pest Teufel Apokalypse, Sanctus Perversum.
Austria's Belphegor is one of those bands that try to mix elements of death , black and thrash metal together, creating some sort of weird hybrid, that sounds like many, but is really none of them. Many such bands that appeared in the mid 90s and more recently, in the 00s'. While such bands (i.e. Insignium) can be fun at times, most are uninspiring and boring. About every second band promotes itself on myspace, lastfm or any other worthless Internet profile crap. The lack of status claim is only matched by their lack of originality and substance. Belphegor, on the other hand, have spawned a brainchild out of their overall weak other releases and who would of thought, that Pestapokalypse VI (I suppose six because it's their sixth release) would become a... yes a great album actually.
This recording is the best example of the fact, that if you try hard enough to do the job done, you can actually manage to do so. Belphegor have been floating around quite a while now and their previous releases suck to such an extent that it hurts. Overproduction, boredom, and cheese are the first three things that come to mind after listening to 2003's "Lucifer Incestus" and the first two albums. "Pestapokalypse VI", however manages to sound devastating, with a non-nerve-shattering experience most overproduced albums of the extreme metal scene present. Its execution is very straightforward and honest, without any filler rubbish or bland moments. Although its style can be very generic at times, it stays as before mentioned true to the genre. The overall atmosphere is very blasphemous, with a load of ambient noises such as church bells ringing, chanting and other elements that add to the dark ambiance. This is [i]not[/i], however, by any means a limp album. The drumming tempo is fast to very fast, executed exceptionally and assaulting the listener's ears with furious blastbeats and precise musicianship. The single guitar themes and melodies are catchy and the overall riffage is far from perfect, but still well done. With a guitar tone that could could rip through thick wood and raspy vocals that scare children, this album puts an evil grin on your face and once you've tasted blood you'll be finding yourself listening to this decent piece of work repeatedly. But jokes aside, the vocalists actually did a great job on this one. Although accompanied by various effects in their voices, they sound authentic and that's the most important point.
To sum it up; this was an unexpected surprise and I would of never got to listen to it, were it not for a friend who recommended this a couple of years back. Finally being able to listen to it, I wasn't disappointed and for once, I WASN'T bumming around in my room, screaming that I want my time back. If you like modern death/thrash/whatever and don't mind the mix, have a look at this album, but stay away from most of their other stuff. For all you devil worshippers out there, "Pestapokalypse VI" is the sugar candy for you!
My picks are: "Sein Todt In Schwartz", "Angel Of Retribution" and "Chants For The Devil 1533"
Supreme Death/Black Metal Art part six. Is it black metal? Is it death metal? Does it really matter anymore? Belphegor has been blurring the line for better than a decade. Call them a black metal band that has gone over to the death side or argue they were always a death band with black influences, I’ll go with their own designation, supreme black death metal art. The jump from Napalm to Nuclear Blast is probably as significant in terms of exposure as the jump from Last Episode to Napalm. With this band I have no fear of them watering down the delivery to gain a wider acceptance. They continue to go their own way, no compromise. Anyone can beat a crowd into submission with an oppressive wall of noise. Belphegor instead revs up the crowd into a frenzy with a wall of pure energy. Intricate and precise while maintaining full throttle intensity is a Belphegor trademark, so is the raging behemothian roar of vocalist Helmuth, along with his shriek that would intimidate a banshee. Vocals leave plenty of room for instrumentation and the drums and guitars are so powerful that they are not overpowered by the vocals. The flip side is also true; his vocals easily match the power of the instrumentation.
Epic, crushing, voluminous sound through densely layered guitar rhythms makes an outstanding foundation. Add increased technicality without sacrificing intensity, high-speed blastbeats and punishing double bass drums. Top it off with Helmuth’s incredible vocals, once again featuring death grunts and blackened roars to perfection. And, of course, Sigurd always shreds.
In terms of Belphegor worship I was a late bloomer. I have been a diehard fan only since 1997, something to keep in mind as you read this review. Writing this as a fanboy, you could think I am overstating their greatness once again, and once again you would be mistaken. Belphegor is simply mandatory. That doesn’t have the same ring to it as “mandatory Motorhead” but if you repeat it enough times it will sink in to your subconscious and the next time you walk into your local metal store you will know instinctively what to look for. In 2000, when Necrodaemon Terrorsathan came out, the two previous releases were in regular rotation in my world. Fast forward to 2006 and the release of Pestapokalypse VI . Now I can confirm that the five previous discs have been in heavy rotation and not many bands can equal that. Something else that not many bands can brag about is that each has been incrementally superior to the previous so each time an album comes out they really are firing on all cylinders. Creatively Pestapokalypse VI is no exception, not only their finest to date, but once again one of the top 10 metal releases of the year, on anybody’s list. Favorite songs are “Angel of Retribution”, “Seyn Todt in Schwartz”, and “Sanctus Perversum”. This is the fourth straight Belphegor album to earn a top five pick for the year.
Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com
When you hear a ton of hype from your friends and read countless good reviews about a band, it usually never fails to turn out to be a dissapointment. Belphegor's "Pestapokalypse VI" was everything I had hoped for and more.
This incredibly fast paced trio from Austria have made their mark in the realm of extreme metal, particularly in the area of blackened death. This album reflects qualities of both genres, but tends to stick with a formula somewhat unique to the band's overall sound.
For the exception of track number 7,"Bluhtsturm Erotika," every track this album either starts our or climaxes to be an extremely fast paced Hellstorm of a song. Although Nefastus produces some of the best instrumental output from this album with his drumming, he also generates one of my only complaints with it. Although a ridiculously fast bone-crushing blast beat is usually an effective tool used by a skilled drummer in most forms of extreme metal, this guy just uses them too much for my liking. Just when you think the progression may turn into a nice, calm moderately paced double kick driven beat, DUM- DUT- DO RATATATATATATATATATATAT.....return of the blast beat. This album is perfect for fans of Origin and Marduk in that regard. Don't get me wrong, Nefastus is a fantastic drummer, and compliments Belphegor's style very well, he just needs to be a bit more creative with his skill.
Aside from the repetative drumming, this album is loaded with lots of twists and suprises. After one of the strongest tracks on the release,"Sanctus Perversum," the album finishes with a fantastic intrumental that is anything but boring. I find it a shame the band didn't do more with this song than what they did, but It is still a very good way to end the album.
Helmuth does a very good job of not using mindless, unplotted riffs to make his job of playing while doing vocals easier. Nearly every guitar riff on this album is done with purpose, and leads the listener through various realms of musical discharge. His guitar playing style on this album can be compared to the likes of Behemoth and Nile with the various Middle-Eastern, sort of Arabic scales and riffs used on this album. This style presents itself the strongest on track number one, "Belphegor-Hell's Ambassador."
The vocals on this album vary from mid-ranged chest screams to sharper black metal style highs to moderately low growls. Helmuth's vocals are nothing to write home about, but they do certainly fit the music, and are appropriate for Belphegor's sound.
On the whole this album was a very enjoyable listen, and is definately recommended to fans of the band's previous work, and of blackened death metal in general.
This is disappointing, to say the least. Belphegor used to be one of the most extreme bands out there, and now they have become "just another death/black/whatever" band. I'd say it was the move to NB that did it, but actually I think 2005's Goatreich-Fleshcult was almost as uninteresting as this. I won't say this sucks, because here and there, as on the slower "Angel Of Retribution", Belphegor manage some good shit, but mostly this is just utterly faceless Death/Black mush that apes Marduk at their least exciting. Harsh to say about this band, but Pestapokalypse VI is pretty severely lacking in good riffs or songs, and the lyrics and image are very tame compared to the wild old days of raped nuns and knife-wielding naked chicks. The performances are nothing to get excited about, the riffs are bland, and the guitar tone is extremely weak. If I were you, I'd skip this one and stick with Marduk's World Funeral, Behemoth's Zos Kia Kultus, or this bands own Lucifer Incestus, all of which do this much, much better.
Originally written for www.metalcrypt.com
Hailing from the far reaches of Austria, the rising extreme metal powerhouse Belphegor shows few signs of slowing down with this release…literally. I’m just going to get out of the way right now that these guys play fast. Really fast. To get the point across, let me just say that they’ve lost a few drummers due to repetitive strain injuries. That’s not to say their sound isn’t balanced, because they’ve switched it up to a greater degree on this release; there is melody abundant, occasional mid-paced grooves, and even two tracks that don’t feature blastbeats at all! The band’s foundations and roots are most certainly not forgotten however; they’ve only improved and added upon their sound with this release.
Pestapokalypse VI can really be summarized with one word: Satan. I mean, Satan is quoted on this album in four languages (Austrian, Latin, English and German) and if that doesn’t convince that these guys are very serious about what they do then I don’t know what will. The lyrics are more in the black metal vein, speaking about the apocalypse, the demon Belphegor, various sexual references, and you guessed it: Satan. This is some pretty blasphemous stuff, truth be told. The vocals are complete unadulterated evil and insanity, frequently switching between low and mid growls to shrieks, and making quite extensive and effective use of layering. Sometimes effects are used on the vocals to make them echo, like in the semi-spoken semi-sung chorus to “Bluhtsturm Erotika” and on the growls in the chorus of “Belphegor-Hell’s Ambassador”, making them sound utterly evil. While the effects may not be necessary, since the vocals capture the essence of evil on their own, they certainly add to the madness.
The guitar work on Pestapokalypse VI is executed extremely well, to say the least. The band’s guitarists, Helmuth and Sigurd work very well as a pair. The riffs are always layered and the band makes use of counterpoint rhythms and harmonies quite extensively. The variety in the guitar work is also a major selling point, ranging from crushing mid-paced grooves to black metal esque-tremolo sections all perfectly balanced out by extensive incorporation of melody and shred solos. Each song features a different approach to melody and harmony, with some using dissonant intervals between the two guitars and others using consonant and/or tri-tone harmonies, both sounding equally evil. The technicality is less than mind-blowing, but that isn’t really the point. The guitars harmonize together so well that they don’t need to try to impress you with how “tech” they are. That’s not to say it’s simple, but they definitely aren’t trying to match Necrophagist in this area.
The drumming is also top-notch. Where their previous releases suffered from being too blastbeat-oriented, this album shows that their new drummer is willing to switch things up quite a bit more than before. While many tracks are still quite blastbeat-driven, there are several sections with slower beats, varied double-bass patterns and creative fills. Hell, even the blastbeats show signs of creativity with an abundance of creative cymbal usage. The drums work very well as a backdrop for the other instruments, but most certainly shine on their own.
Each song has quite a few unique, defining characteristics of its own as well. The blastbeat-less songs mentioned above, “Angel of Retribution” and “Bluhtsturm Erotika” both show that the band is more than willing to switch it up completely with mid-paced, doom-laden tracks. The other songs’ switches between blasting and mid-paced sections never echo one another and never seem contrived. Also, the catchy melodies really serve as the icing on the cake as far as far as setting the songs apart goes. When you hear the intro riff to “Sanctus Perversum”, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
All in all, Belphegor proves with Pestapokalypse VI that they’re not to be taken lightly. This assault of an album brings the brutality and the blackened blasphemy in equal doses and never lets up for a second; even the intros/outros are unsettling. If you’re looking for top-notch blackened death metal that’s as evil as it is intelligent, I would most definitely recommend you get Pestapokalypse VI as soon as possible.
Dort wo der Tanz ist, ist der Teufel nicht weit...
Originally written by me for http://www.sputnikmusic.com
Prior to buying Belphegor’s latest release, Pestapokalypse VI, I had read many reviews praising its brilliance, some even going as far as saying it’s the start of a new wave in the metal scene, so I checked them out on MySpace where they had a song up from this album, it was called Hell’s Ambassador. Right from the beginning I could tell it had lived up to all the expectations the reviews had set (though I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s the start of a new wave in metal), the machine-like drumming, the powerful, crushing riffs and the powerful, godly vocals – everything had lived up to the reviews.
Surely enough I went out and bought this album A.S.A.P. After my first listen of this fresh disk I couldn’t digest it all! I had to listen again! And again. And again. Each time better than the last. Each time I discovered a new section hidden under the riffs or a surprising drum beat or an interesting vocal pattern, I knew this was the beginning of a lifelong love for Belphegor!
Songs like Hell’s Ambassador, Angel of Retribution and Pest Teufel Apokalypse are incredible – easily some of the best material I’ve heard in the genre. Every member in this band is extremely talented in what they do, the guitars are wonderful; the tune of the distortion is great, not overly distorted but enough to know that they mean business, it compliments everything else going on in the music, they are defiantly the backbone of this record. The vocals are nothing special by themselves, in all honesty. But combined with the guitars, drumming and bass – holy shit! In other words; they are similar to the vocals you’d find on a later vader release; powerful, deep yet understandable. The drumming on this album is out of this world, I don’t believe it needs an explaination – just listen!
The one thing wrong with album, which critically lowered the score, is the songs sounds too alike; many riffs are constructed using similar fretwork and not to take and the drums lack variety, for example, in The Ancient Enemy the drums are more or less different examples of a blast beat. By complaining about this I’m making it sound like a bad album, which it is far from.
I can’t judge this release compared to Belphegor’s previous efforts – but this surly has to be their best release, I can’t see how they can top this album. I recommend this album to any fans of blackened death metal, in particular, bands in the vein of Behemoth or Infernal War, you’re going to love this, believe me.
Blackened death metal. We never seem to find it true. Blackened death metal once consisted of either black metal bands that sing with death metal growls (ala Behemoth), or death metal bands that sing with raspy vocals (ala God Dethroned). Musically, these bands also lean to one side, with bands like God Dethrone leaning more towards death metal and bands like Behemoth leaning more towards black metal. It seems that no band on earth can just make a true blackened death metal piece. Gee, seems like true blackened death metal will never be heard by metal heads the world over.
That is, until our very own Austrian blasphemic metal terrorists collectively called Belphegor put out the album Pestapokalypse VI. An album that is both frantic and brutal, but tight and technical. An album that contains vocal both depictions of death metal gore and black metal blasphemy. An album that is equal parts death metal as it black metal. This is true blackened death metal as the genre was meant to be, and Belphegor pulls it off superbly.
Musically, Belphegor as a group has never been tighter. Key to this is the addition of new drummer Tomacz Janisewski, better known as Nefastus by the band. While a tad on the slow side for Belphegor fans, Nefastus has a key part to his resume that makes him a better drummer for the band then any to come before him. Nefastus is a death metal drummer, not a black metal drummer like previous drummer Torturer. This shows that is he capable of being highly technical, something Torturer could never achieve. Now Belphegor can make music here that weaves in and out of key and time changes that sounds good while being all the more brutal and powerful. Even though he is slow (probably because he was expected to only be a session drummer), Nefastus still can blast beat like lightning, create amazing fills, and double bass at speeds that we will still have plenty of Christian heads exploding because of all the blasphemic terror inflicted upon them.
Helmuth and Sigurd themselves have gotten better in their respective roles with the band. As a vocalist, Helmuth still delivers the blasphemic goods, providing highly extreme vocals at an incredibly audible level (what is the point of having blasphemic lyrics if your fans cannot understand them), and he does just amazing. Have you ever heard a guy move from a death metal growl to a black metal rasp faster then Helmuth? I think not (you find me an example and I'll say I was wrong without argument). As a guitarist, Helmuth is still a tad mediocre, as his solos are still a bit sloppy and rudimentary. However, he shows that he has grown as a player, for he does not do as much tapping and now starts to do some basic hybrid techniques (primarily a combination of tremolo picking and alternate picking) and even basic sweep picking. Still, his solos still have a lot of tapping and a tad too much whammy bar use. His riffs are still highly tight though, which is great. Second (and better) guitarist Sigurd however has truly gotten amazing. Utilizing all the techniques Helmuth uses but with a much better knowledge of music theory, Sigurd's guitar playing on Pestapokalypse VI is absolutely stellar. Loaded with operatic harmonies that I have not heard any metal band pull off, Sigurd is key to this extreme metal guitar opera that occurs on Pestapokalypse VI. His best solo is on Pest Teufel Apokalypse, but his leads on songs like Chants For The Devil 1533, Belphegor Hells Ambassador, and Sanctus Perversum are also just plain awesome. More goodness on the part of the band. Bass wise, Barth delivers nicely from tracks 1-6, and we even hear him do a nice bass solo at the end of Pest Teufel Apokalypse. However, after that, for some reason Helmuth was forced to take over the bass, and the final bass parts are not so great and pretty rudimentary for the most part.
Lyrically, we move away from themes of raping nuns and angels, to lyrics that will actually make you question the power of Christianity with a goal to recruit you to Satan's unholy legions. Vivid descriptions of the Christian world in chaos that would give any biblical prophet a run for their money are rampant everywhere on Pestapokalypse VI. Even songs about our own inner demons come into play here (check Angel Of Retribution for this). On top of that, several songs have quick parts in German and Latin (the whole song Blutsturhm Erotika is written in German). We still have the themes of sodomy and blasphemic sex (check Sanctus Perversum for this), but who cares. It's all Belphegor, it's all blasphemic, and it just owns.
Songs here are even more varied then before. Now we get songs that are more on the death metal side of things like Belphegor Hell's Ambassador, Pest Teufel Apocalypse, and Angel Of Retribuion and songs that are on the more black metal side of things like Seyn Todt In Schwartz and The Ancient Enemy, but this helps to bring variation to the album and make it sound awesome. Belphegor picks up on the use of the operatic guitar harmonies on each song to varying degrees (as in some songs are more operatic then others when it comes to guitar work), and it allows for music that is frantic, almost epic, and downright haunting to fit the utterly blasphemic lyrical content. We even hear Belphegor experimenting with (oh my god, experimentation in extreme metal metal!) melodic songs (cries of sellout come now)! Only two tracks use this to a good effect, and those are Angel Of Retribution and Blutsturhm Erotika. These tracks, particularly the latter just own. This proves that Belphegor actually has plenty of brains to balance out the brutality of their music, and that they are ones to make sure their music does not go stale on themselves without selling out. A hard thing to come by in today's metal circles.
Big thanks to producer/engineer Andy Classen (former guitarist and songwriter for the German thrash metal band Holy Moses) for making the album sound so awesome awesome. The guitars are totally in balance and the drum tone simply rocks. Nothing sounds louder then anything else, and there is no overpowering of sound here. Just plain awesome. The only thing I could ask is better bass sounds, but otherwise it is simply awesome.
The really only downsides on Pestapokalypse VI are the general lack of good bass sounds and the fact that Helmuth plays more solos then Sigurd (he probably has the whole idea that since he sings he should be able to show off more on guitar, and Sigurd just goes along with) on the album. As I have stated before, Helmuth is a decent guitarist, but Sigurd is the true master of the six string flagellation here. Let him solo more Helmuth, it cannot hurt the music.
So all in all, Pestapokalypse VI is an album that simply cannot be overlooked, as it is just too brutal, tight, blasphemic, and just amazing to listen to. You won't be sorry with this purchase in metal.
Holy Blasphemy, Batman, it's Belphegor again! And this is one of my favorite recent albums as of now, its ownage cannot be denied. Call it blackened death, brutal black, whatever you call it, it actually earns the overused sobriquet of "brutal". Belphegor have developed a very distinct take on this relatively new sound and made it their own already.
This album is marked with riveting intensity and excellent production courtesy of Andy Classen--you can even hear the bass as it anchors the guitars with thick and resonant tone. And the drums don't even sound overly triggered; you can hear the kick drums are triggered, but not as much as some bands (*coughcough*DeedsOfFlesh*coughcough*), and I like that. I shows me that whoever the drummer on this album was, he doesn't need to rely on those annoying things for his sound. And given the furious drum abuse on this album that says something.
Another thing I like about this album is that while there is certainly a terrific amount of blasting, it is mixed up with a lot of variety. They incorporate trad Slayer style thrash beats and slow, thunderous beats as well, and the blasts have more impact that way. Most of the time bands like this simply mindlessly blast away and it gets numbing after a while, but Belphegor avoid this and concentrate on arrangements and construction as well as brutality, and the result is positively face-smashing.
The riffs really stand out too, especially the riff that brings in the verse on "Hell's Ambassador" with its blurry, smeared feel. And I love the way they harmonize their single note rhythm parts with dissonant intervals to make them really stand out and sound more "evil". They demonstrate some imagination, and it works well. The vocals are as evil as it gets and even use some vocal effects now and again for additional flavor, but for the most part Helmuth sounds frightening enough on his own. Scathing high shrieks and ugly deep growls and gurgles that will make your hair stand on end are the order of the day here and he mixes it up well, sounding intense and possessed the moment he opens his mouth.
Standouts are "Hell's Ambassador" with a great chant along chorus, "Angel of Retribution" with its slow doom crawl, and I am partial to "Blutstuhrm Erotika" with its sinister mix of German and Latin language vocals. This whole album, though, is a monstrous and intimidating beast of war on Christianity! Belphegor are really on top of their game here, I'm happy to say, and they bring the mayhem, chaos, and berserk madness right to you with unflinching intent. Forget the so-called "tr00 kvlt" black metal nonsense the ultra-underground types try to pass off as "True Black Metal Art", this is the real thing. Belphegor shred and tear hard and don't stop until you are dead or until you've joined them in their war on the xian sheep.
"Skull-crushing" was a term we used back in the day to describe an album like this and it's a rare occasion when I get a chance to use that term these days. This album merits that term and then some. I highly recommend it!
Belphegor's "Pestapokalypse VI" is a beast not to be taken lightly. If you're unfamiliar with Belphegor, well, they're a mix of one part death metal and one part black metal. These guys take their job seriously and the musicianship displayed in their latest opus shows they have no intention of slowing down or releasing anything less than phenomenal. The lyrical content on this release is predominately black metal oriented but the music itself seems to take a lot from death metal as well (in terms of sheer brutality and aggression).
"Hells Ambassador" is a precursor of the insanity to come. Crushing riffs weave in and out of this opener and Helmuth's vocals are precise as always. The drumming is also exceptionally well performed, but you know, this is Belphegor, would you expect anything less?
There are quite a few songs with foreign lyrics, but the choruses are typically in English. Not that this should really matter, but it needs to be noted that all of the songs with non-English titles are all exceptionally bad-ass. For example, the guitar playing on "Seyn Todt in Schwartz" is incredibly sorrowful but angry at the same time. Total fucking death indeed! "Angel of Retribution" & "Chants for the Devil" are two of the best works of art found on this masterpiece. Honestly, listen to the intro of "Angel of Retribution" and chances are you'll be hooked to Belphegor forever. They add an almost doom like atmosphere to some of these songs, but with an overt black metal overtone. The result is absolutely chilling extreme metal performed in the most mind fucking way possible.
The brutality really never ceases on this release. One thing I like about the whole album in general is the bass is very audible and the bass lines are very well played. The last three songs on the album pretty much follow the mold of the first half of the album : unrelenting blast beats, ungodly vocals and mesmerizing guitar playing. When all is said and done this is yet another classic to add to the growing list of insanely bad ass Belphegor albums. Not for the faint of heart, but thoroughly engaging and intelligently written.