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Belphegor has become one of those dependable bands to merge their black and death metal influences into a unified, concussive Satanic force, and this is not a band to mince words, quite blunt in their attitude. Basically, when a new Belphegor album arrives, you know you are getting your ass kicked. But how hard? And how far?
Walpurgis Night - Hexenwahn is the band's 8th full length album, and I'd rate it a steady boot to tenderize both buttocks, but not enough to launch you out of the park. First, you've got to get past the punishing but boring door charge that is "Walpurgis Night" before you run into any interesting characters. "Veneratio Diaboli - I Am Sin" opens with a far better riff, graceful yet sinister, and converts nicely into a thrashing mayhem. "Hail the New Flesh" is a stop/start blastoff that converts into some huge, lunging groove rhythms. "Reichswehr In Blood" is a similar blaster to the opening track, but the riff is superior and has a pretty punishing bridge. As for the remainder of the album, I rather fancied the pumping thrash of "Der Geistertreiber" with its crepitating bass and verse vocals, as well as the gloomy smut of "Enthralled Toxic Sabbath".
Being Belphegor, you know the record will sound quite cutting, and it does in fact possess tones the equal of most anything in their back catalog. Helmuth sounds as diabolical as ever, and the drums and guitars clash well to create a frightening, occult mix through which the melodies stream like molten rivers of Hell. Those of you who are diehard fans of this Austrian troupe will not be so let down, even if the album isn't among their strongest efforts.