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"The Last Supper," was the album that got me into Belphegor, and ever since I first heard it, I've been a huge fan of the Austrian blackened death metal band. While it isn't as good as their later releases, it's still definitely worth listening too.
The style presented on their debut is much closer to black metal than later albums like "Goatreich-Fleshcult," or "Bondage Goat Zombie." Yet at the same time, the guitar playing is much heavier than later Belphegor albums would be. For the most part, Helmuth and Sigurd play a fast, thrash metal-esque guitar riffs with some of the melody that would be expanded upon later in their career. The album boasts several guitar solos, like on "Drowned in Excrements," "Bloodbath in Paradise, Pt. Two," and on the album’s title track, all of which are good. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the guitars on "The Last Supper," the songwriting is very repetitive.
The drums, though good, essentially play the same blast beat during the whole album, with little variation as well. One thing that does require mention is the occasional use of keyboards on the album. They are present briefly on "Impalement Without Mercy," where they play a few chords at certain points on the song. They're also on "March of the Dead," during the last minute or so. However, they aren't expanded on, and rarely make an appearance.
My favorite part of the album however, is Helmuth's vocals. The style that Helmuth uses here is much harsher and extreme sounding than the more black metal sounding one that he would later adopt. His vocal's are more death metal sounding, and he uses lower, guttural growls. Unfortunately, this is a style that he no longer uses.
Despite its strong points, "The Last Supper" suffers from many of the afflictions that a debut album has. Among these are bad production and repetitive songwriting. The production is the typical low quality you would expect on a first release, but on the track "Kruzifixion," the production goes from bad to simply awful, despite the fact that "Kruzifixion" is an excellent song.
"The Last Supper" is a good debut, but not quite as good as the later albums that Belphegor would produce.
What Belphegor does on the Last Supper is play thrashy and slaughtering extreme metal, which always makes me think if there was someone who loved classic type metal but couldn’t get into black or death metal, the Last Supper would be one extreme metal album he might really dig.
The Last Supper is full of ominous black metal riffing supported by a ton of fast and unrelenting drumming and two different vocals used interchangeably. Very energetic. BUT it would get pretty old after a while if that’s all there was. Behold, drawn-out melodic sections, rhythmic and variable drumming, a few atmospheric intermissions, even guitar solos that could’ve easily been snagged from some 80’s thrash anthem. Oh god, how the solos scratch me where it itches. The Last Supper is almost always an “upper,” with just enough downtime to make it interesting instead of a nonstop explosion, just enough atmospheric effects to spice it up without taking attention away from the aggression, and just enough much needed rhythmic sections between the extreme metal pummelmania to solidify these songs into, well songs, instead of a series of indistinguishable and fast riffs. The diverse vocal styles also help make this album more exciting. Constantly shifting between death metal growls and black metal shrieks is almost always a great touch (see: Arkhon Infaustus) and let’s you know: yes this band is crazy. Don’t fuck with Belphegor; they will not only torture you in the name of satan but probably devour your mangled carcass afterwards.
The most ferocious/ soul-bearing/ incredible album ever? Nah, not even close. Anything any seasoned fan of extreme metal hasn’t already heard? Doubtful. The most brilliant yet unacknowledged musical talents in all of metal?? That neither. Just some good fucking metal. The Last Supper is a solid and no-frills piece of black and death metal that puts forth plenty of satanic zeal without compromising its viciousness in the name of metal. It’s good black metal, it’s good death metal, it’s just good metal. And unlike the albums that purportedly do something new and inconceivable and blow everyone’s mind for two seconds, this one never gets washed out and expendable. So maybe it’s a bit of a classic after all.
I was expecting a totally different Belphegor on this release, but instead we get the same Belphegor signature sound from the start. Catchy melodies, low death grunts, shrieked vocals, mid paced blast beats, etc. You can hear some cannibal corpse influences in the low growling here (Butchered At Birth era), and shrieked vocals reminiscent of Kreator (Pleasure To Kill era). The songs are catchy and memorable, especially for their debut album. Right from the start, this album slays. At times, the songs can be a straight up American death metal onslaught, then black metal atmospheres at times (The end of March of the Death especially), also some keyboards place tastefully to build up the atmosphere, some doom-like passages here and there, and at times, grindcore can rear its head (the verse of The Last Supper, for example).
The songs are brimming with energy and the band sounds very inspired, which makes this release a lot more memorable and great to play. My only complaints is that the bass is kind of low in the mix (Like most Metal bands), but you can still hear it at times, or if you carefully listen you can hear it, and the drums are somewhat low in the mix, but other than that, a great album by Belphegor. I would get the re-release for the demo tracks to hear what Belphegor sounded like before this album was released, and even then, they still showed how great they were, and the covers Outbreak of Evil originally by Sodom, which is very good, having a much more grind feel and a great cover. Another cover Sabbath Bloody Sabbath originally by Black Sabbath is also very well done and interesting to have a death metal flavor to it. The production is raw and provides a much more intense atmosphere to the music, and is well done.
My personal favorites off this album is the title track, Impalement Without Mercy, Engulfed In Eternal Frost (The most black metal oriented track here), and Drown In Excrement, but ALL of the songs here are very good. Definitely get the re-release, I cant decide which Belphegor album is better because they are ALL very good. I recommend it to Belphegor fans who haven't this album in general, and blackened death metal fans in general as well.
Belphegor released this album in 1995 on Lethal Records and no one noticed. Those that wanted it later could not find it so Last Episode was gracious to re-release it in 1999 complete with six bonus tracks. Mercenary Musik is now re-releasing the original version, according to their web site, with all art work restored. They accompany the advertisement with the cover art depicting Christ and his disciples eating a bloody human last supper. That is indeed the centerfold from the original release, but what about the cover art of the sliced up baby, or the women with child on the cover sheet, or the bloodthirsty photos? What I got from Mercenary seems to be a re-release of the re-release, not of the original. Confused yet? I pulled out my Last Episode version and compared it to the new one. Identical, all the bonus tracks are there as well as the same artwork. The only difference is that the parental advisory explicit lyrics and explicit artwork stamps on the cover have been removed. I am curious, why re-release an exact copy of a disc still readily available?
The bonus tracks include three tracks from 1994’s 7 inch including a cover of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and three tracks newly recorded in 1998, including an “outbreak of Evil” cover and a track that later appeared on Necrodemon Terrorsathan called “Diabolical Possession.” The dominant vocal style is very low guttural grunts American death style with plenty of screamed vocals reminiscent of early Kreator. The music is very heavy and brutal guitars with aggressive drumming. As with most American style death, the songs tend to blend together, with memorable pieces here and there throughout the album, but without individual uniqueness for each song.
The album taken as a whole entity is strong, with memorable moments being “The Rapture of Cremation” and “Engulfed in Eternal Frost,” the former for its slow passages the later for its lightening fast backbone, both equally well written. My favorite song, “Kruzifixion” is a 1994 version of 1991’s demo’s title track and has an early Celtic Frost feel. It is also the song with the most black metal elements. So, what’s the verdict? It does not matter which version you get, just get one of them.
Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com
Belphegor are in the first league of extreme metal at this time, I think that there’s no doubt about that. But how about their beginnings? The Last Supper is their first long-playing album recorded in 1994, and I have to admit that it was quite decent start for these Austrians. I will skip some comments on the standard cheesy provocative image (OK, I know it belongs to this genre and especially to Belphegor) and I’ll push play, and….
…Wow! From the first tones you can here that Belphegor do not know any compromise. Mostly death-metal oriented music with black-metal and sometimes even grindcore elements blows you away with its intensity and brutality. Predominant blast-beats are alternating with mid- or slow tempos, heavy and distorted death metal riffs live in harmony with black metal melodies, vocalist uses well both growling and BM-like shrieking. The overall atmosphere of the record is (also thanks to somehow strange dirty yet well readable sound) quite sick, which is supported by minimal but effective use of keyboards. The album flows all the time in the same vein – I mean there is no huge variety between individual tracks (no entirely slow song, no important diversity in feeling or structure), which could be taken as a minus, however as the songs themselves are quite well-structured with enough motives, tempo-breaks, memorable riffs and melodies, the record does not get monotonous or boring. Another think to point out are quite solid instrumental skills of all musicians that underline the huge potential of this band even in its early years.
So finally, why I give only 78%? Yes, it is true that I am very impressed by this record, but still – it is debut, and as a debut it suffers from many “diseases” to some extent – whereas it is weaker production, some imperfections in song-structure or instrumental skills…etc. (compare it with later Belphegor’s albums and you will understand). However despite it is not perfect, it was really promising first step for the band and I have to highly recommend it to anyone interested in this kind of music. After 12 years it has not lost anything of its charm and you will be satisfied.