Despite the lineup changes over the years, it’s nearly impossible for BELPHEGOR to release a horrible album, thanks to founding member Helmuth Lehner. It has been three years since these European infernal knights unleashed their overall tenth LP Conjuring the Dead and we had the pleasure to see it come to life on stage. However, their hearts have since darkened and grew bloodthirsty for callous riffs as though it could open a demonic realm, similar to the film Deathgasm. This brings us to their new record Totenritual, out now via Nuclear Blast Records.
The opening track “Baphomet” has a heavy and aggressive introduction. However, there are sludgy grooves mixed with multiple guitar parts as the melody continues to fluctuate. “The Devil’s Son” opens with a classic voiceover, similar to an eighties horror film as all hell breaks loose with a bitter melodic embrace. The track slows down providing an atmospheric landscape but, this doesn’t last long as the guitar riffs and fast pedalling on the drums crushes in up until the soft acoustic-like ending.
“Swinefever – Regent Of Pigs” reminds us that, “God is not here with us now” as it takes you on a ferocious ride with growls and maniacal riffs. The unpredictable changes and diversified layers make it one of the stronger songs. Blistering in next is “Apophis – Black Dragon,” with its invasive guitar riffing mastery. Warning: there are parts of this tune that could make you feel as though you are summoning the gates of Hell while ripping your skull out. Therefore, the intensity of this track is heavily powerful. Speaking of hell, “Totenkult – Exegesis Of Deterioration” chimes in with sounds from a horror film as it erupts with melodic obliteration.
Following the five abrasive tunes, ““Totenbeschwörer” gives us a cool down run with an engaging instrumental. With only three songs left, “Spell Of Reflection” chaotically picks up the pace as the rhythm and melody changes, making it another stronger piece of the batch. “Embracing A Star” creepingly sneaks in as the drums strengthen to an ultimate fast pedalling speed. There’s a fair balance between haunting and daring-esque arrangements, which will make you want to hear more.
However, they saved the best for last with the title track, “Totenritual” as the beginning will metaphorically rip your face off and drag you straight to one hell of an adventure. BELPHEGOR’S Totenritual is thoroughly enjoyable from beginning to end. It’s safe to say that any of these songs could be great live contenders.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Totenritual”, “Swinefever – Regent Of Pigs”, “Spell Of Reflection”
-ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI