Ever since they emerged in the early ’90s, Austria’s Belphegor have decimated audiences with their blackened death metal fury – ever challenging the might of Behemoth for aural dominance – and now these Austrian purveyors of unholy ceremonies have returned to the forefront of the extreme metal scene with their 11th full-length album, Totenritual.
Leaning a little more to the left hand path of death metal, opener “Baphomet” is a skin-crawling statement of deathly intent with little black metal evident. In fact, that’s the pattern of Totenritual as Belphegor settle into Morbid Angel levels of groove and menace with the band effortlessly combining complex melodies with all-encompassing brutality.
It could be argued that Belphegor have played it a little safe here – don’t go expecting the aural carnage of Bonded Goat Zombie for instance – but this streamlining of sound is in their favour, focusing their skills into a blackened death metal album of considerable power.
The overwhelming sense of satanic suffering remains as palpable as ever, aided and abetted by Helmuth’s godlike grunts and shrieks. The result is a return to form for Belphegor with Totenritual proving to be an extreme metal smörgåsbord of technically impressive musicianship, demonic vocals and evocative evil intent; delivered in suitably spectacular satanic fashion! 8/10
Totenritual is out on 15th September via Nuclear Blast
Belphegor will be touring the UK in October with DESTRÖYER666, ENTHRONED & NERVOCHAOS.
Dates are as follows:
Oct 8th – London, The Dome
Oct 10th – Glasgow, Audio
Oct 12th – Belfast, Limelight 2
Oct 13th – Dublin, Voodoo Lounge