Friday, September 15, 2017
Belphegor : " Totenritual"
These guys have always been a death metal band rather than black metal band.Though it is easy to see why they would appeal to fans of black metal They are now mired firmly in a more Morbid Angel form of tightly coiled dark death metal. Vocally there is a little more of a trade off with the high snarl giving more of a call and response. This is extremely well produced, written and performed. There would be no excuse for it not to be considering these guys have been around since 1992. This is their 11th album, so they are no stranger to the studio.
I like the chanting in "Apophis" and all the literally bells and whistles, it adds an extra layer of creepy and evil to what they do. Hey it worked for Mercyful Fate so nothing is wrong with tasteful theatrics. The drummer can get a little carried away with his need for speed, but if you go in expecting that and taking it for what it is I can deal with it. The drummer starts off with a more locked in tasteful approach going into the title track then speeds up.Granted he is the new guy so maybe the former Pnazerchrist drummer feels like he has something to prove.I mean he is only a year older than this band so young guys can be overly enthusiastic. The guitars keep everything pretty anchored with the random bursts of blast to jerk you around when you are beginning to nod your head to the groove. Though it is not done in a jerk off techy math way. The guitar solos are not overblown, to say the really contribute to the song might be a little bit of a overstatement.
They eventually do slow down into more melodic moments on "Totenbeschworer". Though it's more of an instrumental interlude than a song. They have more eerie moments of groove and glory on "Spell of Reflection". I think this song even with it's bursts of blasting finds the band operating at the peak of their song writing powers and the young drummer fitting nicely. Clean guitar surfaces to lead into "Embracing a Star" which carries a powerfully chugged stomp. What works is the balance of heavy and songwriting, this is also what makes bands like Dimmu and Behemoth so catchy. This is not selling out or pandering for mainstream, but quality song writing, with a convincing attack when they decide to give you the middle finger and go for it. They blow their wad with aggression on the closing song, but overall this album is an excellent piece of dark death metal, I'll round it up to a 9.5.