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In the last few years, Austria's number one black/death metal band might have lost some fans because, to say it ironically, they started to write really great songs that are atmospheric, melodic and easy to listen to. Their songs got everything that an oldschool underground cvlt death or black metal fan can easily hate and what the most extreme music fans can appraise. They have the ability to expand their fan base with each full-length and I think they deserve to get more and more new supporters. That's because since 'Goatreich – Fleshcult' they've been through a huge progression, they've made a unique soundscape and that's what made me a fan of them.
After last year's album and the successful tour with Nile and Grave, Belphegor didn't hesitate so much, they started to write the sequel of 'Bondage Goat Zombie' instantly. And by sequel, I mean it literally, Walpurgis Rites can be truly mentioned as the second part of Bondage Goat Zombie in every aspect, with the song structures, the atmosphere and the quality. It can be noticed since the beginning of this album and if you listen to it carefully, you could find a match for each song from their previous full-length. I wouldn't be surprised if they wrote this album together with the previous one, because they are so similar. It's not a copy though, the riffs are different, only the atmosphere and the structures are the same. The 'Bondage Goat Zombie' album however contained a song, 'Justine – Soaked in Blood', which was the revisited version of the song 'Goatreich – Fleshcult', and was a highlight on that release. On this record, they wanted to write a 'Sexdictator Lucifer 2', called 'Der Geistertreiber', but if the original song didn't work, how would this do? Okay, it's a bit better then 'Sexdictator Lucifer', but still sucks, although, we laughed a lot on its video clip. I think it's still the weakest song of the album.
Of course, every Belphegor album consists one or two black/death metal classics, and so does this one. The best song is 'I Am Sin – Veneratio Diaboli', a good answer for all who say that Belphegor is boring or they lack of creativity. At least everyone should give this one a listen, and if they still don't like this because they are too oldschool or cvlt, I would recommend 'Destroyer Hekate' to them, the other best song on this release, or the 'Reichswehr In Blood'. The second one isn't as good as 'Destroyer Hekate' but it still reminds me the old Belphegor. I have to mention that we have another song which doesn't fit into the band's repertoire. It's the 'The Crosses Made Of Bone' with it's melodic death/thrash influences, I would expect songs like this from Illdisposed, not from Helmuth's band, but it's okay, it works. Most of the songs have more black metal influences than they had on 'Bondage Goat Zombie', but that's just a slight difference. But this would settle who will like 'Walpurgis Rites'.
It's obvious that it's not for the oldschool fans who had been let down by the post-'Lucifer Incestus' era, but I can recommend them the few mentioned songs too. But for those, who liked the last two releases of Belphegor, this effort wouldn't be a disappointment. It was really hard to rate it well, because I really enjoyed 'Bondage Goat Zombie', and this is quite similar to that. It's not weaker, nor stronger though. It has exactly the same amount of great moments and weak parts, and I won't give it a low rate just because I've heard an album with the same conditions. That one was rated at around 90%. Why would I give less for this?
( Originally written for: http://kronosmortus.hu )