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Mandatory blasphemy - 98%

Grimulfr, November 14th, 2008

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