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Here's a band we haven't heard from in quite some time.
Paragon Belial is a project of Andreas Classen (Shining) and Marcus Losen (Anti), both also from the band Bethlehem. This is their sophomore album, the first in 12 years. Hordes of the Darklands was a decent 90s black metal effort, and they've once again delivered with Nosferathu Sathanis. Nine tracks that would make Christ weep blood yet again, if he had any left. As a bonus, pick up one of the early copies of the record and you'll get a double digipack with the debut album included.
The snarling nosferatu of the cover art is pretty indicative of the sound here. Bold, bright production, and every song goes right for the throat with ravenous, vampiric incisors. This isn't a band interested in writing complex riffs, they just batter you over the fucking head with simple compositions and let Satan sort you out. I do not have a problem with this. I need some sorting. The title track opens up the first vein, and the rest of the songs feast on your neck. The cover of Hellhammer's "Horus/Aggressor" is well done, the vocalist even shifts it up to use a voice more reminiscent of Tom G. Warrior.
I am actually partial to some of the slower tunes here, like the vile groove of "Abomoth" or the slow crushing avalanche of "Goatspawn". They even have a song called "Grimdozer" of all things. Come on now, and the 'patriotic' album closer "Black Metal United and Strong".
What more do you really need? This isn't the greatest album to ever necrofuel your diabolical engine of hatred, but it's well worth any newsprint maniac's time and effort to track down. Fuck poseurs. Long live Paragon Belial.
Arising from an eleven year slumber, Paragon Belial returns to chase away the hordes of wannabe black metal bands. With members from bands like Bethlehem, Shining and Anti, this reincarnation will prove to be a malevolent disc of high quality black metal perversion. The band may be named after a Darkthrone song, but “Nosferathu Sathanis,” is certaintly not going down the same musical path as Darkthrone. Unlike those Norwegians, these Germans still induce insanity upon hearing, unleashing a bloodthirsty beast with every track to stalk you, causing massive paranoia and hysteria.
The first track off of “Nosferathu Sathanis”is reminiscent of Trelldom’s “Til Minne” with a less frosty shell and darker streams of thought pouring through the intense black metal musicianship. The riffs sound unending, drifting into something that no matter how loud you turn on the music, still sounds like you need to chase after it. Yet, every instrument is clear, even the battering bass guitar, which is usually hidden in the background. “666 Calling of the Dead” is a hyper-blasting track, ripping through medleys of screams, growls, grunts, shrill yelps and cymbal crashes so sharp, they’re like flying razors. The Hellhammer Cover of “Horus/Aggressor” is perfect. Disturbing discordance melded with hateful black metal is an old school figurine of harshness and is pure, re-vamped perfection. Paragon Belial manage to capture that old school, choppy sound executed with finesse.
“Abomoth” provides for a tempo change, sounding almost like a black metal band playing a funeral song through a death metal band’s hands. Things speed up to a guitar solo like you’d hear off of an extreme metal album recorded about two decades earlier. “Necromancer” invokes a demon of old, shooting off rounds of untypical blackness, transforming into an atmospheric daze and ending in devilish laughter, like a werewolf staring at the moon, enjoying the thought of killing. “Black Metal United and Strong,” completes Paragon Belial’s venture into the time before they began their hiatus. It’s a pumping and classic mixture of thrash, black metal and punk.
Paragon Belial’s music is unlike any other band. They manage to play fast, freezing black metal while still injecting a new strain of viral sound, full of misanthropy and darkness that’s darker than even the most depressive black metal act, but with a more sadomasochistic mood versus a masochistic one. This is a time where you can judge a book by its cover, because the artwork for “Nosferathu Sathanis” features a monstrous entity that completely reflects upon the music stored within. This is a hybridization of 90’s worship and the experimental beats of today, creating the epitome of blasphemic black metal that is truly for fans of the underground.
- Written for Tanin'iver Zine
Nosferathu Sathanis is the second full-length album from Germany's Paragon Belial. For those unfortunate wretches not familiar with this band, it features two musicians that you should be acquainted with; Andreas Classen (original vocalist for Bethlehem) and Zahgurim (former Bethlehem drummer). The members of Paragon Belial kept themselves occupied with other musical projects since the release of their debut album, in 1996, Hordes of the Darklands. Many years passed since then, as the Black Metal scene changed and decayed. Yet, finally, this German horde rose from the shadows, after over a decade of silence, to unleash more raw and hateful Black Metal, the way it should be.
The album begins with the title track, which is dripping with the blood of the ancients. It opens with a mid-paced riff and grim vocals, before speeding up a bit. The vocals then become more demonic, sounding improved from the debut L.P. The old school influences are obvious here, and executed very well. Like any good opening song, this one serves well to set the tone for the whole record.
Next is "666 Calling of the Dead". This begins with intensity and pure hatred coming from Classen. The tempo alternates between violent speed and a more mid-paced assault, as the song continues. The vocals become more insane and possessed as things progress. There is a good mix of 80s and early 90s Black Metal, here, sounding as if it could, easily, have been released 15 years earlier. The most important thing is that the melodies are dark and memorable.
The next track is the longest one on the album. "Goatspawn" starts with a brief bass section, giving the feeling of dread, as the mid-paced riffs accompany hellish vocals. This one strongly retains the doom feelling from the previous album, while building upon it. There is a definite Hellhammer influence, yet it isn't as overt as some bands. Paragon Belial manages to take this inspiration and use it to create something of their own, rather than simply mimicking the old ones. After a few minutes, the pace picks up in a manner reminiscent of Hordes of the Darklands or Dark Metal. Things continue to build until it reaches a violent climax, where it all slows down. Only a somber acoustic guitar and sparse drums play as a sample from some unknown film adds to the evil and epic atmosphere. It all blends together, seamlessly, and slowly builds to an epic tremolo riff that will haunt you tunil your final days. This may be the masterpiece of the album, as the dark atmosphere is almost suffocating, as the funeral bells chime your final doom and it all comes to an end.
The tribute to Hellhammer is made clear with the next track. "Horus/Aggressor" is executed very precisely, as Andreas manages to emulate Tom Warrior's vocal style, while giving it a little more energy. This is superior to the original version, if for no other reason than that it doesn't feature the hypocritical and scum-filled presence of Mr. Fischer. Another thing worth mentioning is that with Paragon Belial's old school approach to Black Metal, this song fits in, perfectly, not seeming out of place at all.
"Abomoth" follows this, beginning with dark and dreary riffs, maintaining a slower pace than the last song. Andreas shows some variation in his vocals, as on the rest of the album, matching the feeling of the song and keeping things interesting. The drums are tight and keep a steady pace, even as the song speeds up. A lot of modern drummers feel the need to show off and do to much; Zahgurim knows just what is needed for the integrity of the song. Of course, Ralph is more than competent on the guitar, even throwing a brief solo into this song. Also, the bass is present yet not overbearing. Many bands place little or no emphasis on this instrument, missing out on the opportunity to accentuate the dark aura of the music.
"Solemnize Me" has a short build-up, accompanied with deeper vocals, before bursting forth with scorching speed. There is a brief section where it all slows down, as a funeral bell tolls once more, before returning to the same violent tempo. For the most part, this one retains the feeling from the Second Wave.
Traditional-sounding Metal riffs begin the next song, "Grimdozer". This one contains more memorable melodies, especially around the 2:00 mark. The song is fairly straight-forward, yet possesses small bits of variation, throughout. The pace really changes in the last minute or so, as the vocals become quite unrestrained and almost maniacal.
"Necromancer" is a re-recorded version of "Necromancer of the Dark Valleys", from Hordes of the Darklands. It begins with a melody that is somewhat reminiscent of something from Sacramentum's Far Away From the Sun. The cold riffs are enough to chill your skin even in the blistering heat of neverending summer. About mid-way through, the song seems to collapse into silence, with the drums slowly dying off. Nothing is left but the sound of falling rain, a miserable acoustic guitar and demonic vocals. The riff that follows is dark and takes you by the throat. The atmosphere is dark and you get the feeling of being pulled down into the fiery depths. This is certainly one of the best songs on here.
The album concludes with "Black Metal United & Strong". This one is rather short and has, somewhat, cleaner vocals as well as kind of a punk feeling to the chorus. It is more upbeat than the previous song, yet it's not out of place, either.
Nosferathu Sathanis is raw and misanthropic Black Metal. This is highly recommended for anyone that is tired of modern-sounding music. If you want more old school Black Metal, pick this up. You won't be disappointed.