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Album Reviews : Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn

By on December 18, 2009


If you’re going to put on an evil black metal front, with nasty lyrics and all that jazz, then at least sound evil to suit. It’s a problem with a lot of bands, but not Belphegor. Song titles like “The Crosses Made of Bone” and the sounds of a girl screaming (not in the good way) may seem tacky, and they are to an extent, but that’s ok when it works.

‘Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn’, Belphegor’s eighth full length, is proof that music doesn’t have to be incredibly fast or have nasty production to be horror-filled. They will never out-do bands like Portal in the horror-factor, but let’s face it, hardly anybody will. Sure there are fast, sharp riffs and the other usual genre elements, but it’s balanced out with some heavy grooves and surprisingly memorable melodies. “Hail the New Flesh” has some slam-worthy riffs, and the haunting combination of slower guitars and colossal roars in “Veneratio Diaboli – I Am Sin” will return to you in your sleep. “Der Geistertreiber” is an interesting one with its siren sounds and bass-oriented sections, and closer “Hexenwahn – Totenkult” takes it all to a whole new level of twisted. A large chunk of the album is still classic black metal with a more modern sound, but it’s broken up well enough by death metal elements that it never loses its edge. Although, the faster sections do sometimes seem like a bit of a waste of talent when other tracks are hinting at much more interesting possibilities.

There’s no doubting the musical capabilities of the band. The guitars are razor sharp when they need to be, but break away into melodic leads and quieter sections with absolute ease. The drums drive the music forward, really adding to the ferocity and while the bass parts aren’t anything to write home about, they do back the music up nicely in the quieter sections (see “Der Geistertreiber”). Vocally, it’s tough to fault, with both the thicker growls and harsher shrieks executed with equal sufficiency.

I mean, it’s really nothing you couldn’t find in various other bands, but these guys do it well. It’s the type of album that’s presented as something relatively standard while actually being much more inter

esting, but not to the level that demands concentration. ‘Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn’ might not be slaughtering any boundaries, but the masses of voluntary black metal stalemates aren’t so safe. 7.4/10

Band: Belphegor
Album: Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn
Year: 2009
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Origin: Austria
Label: Nuclear Blast/Riot! Entertainment

Track listing:
1. Walpurgis Rites
2. Veneratio Diaboli – I Am Sin <- Reviewers choice
3. Hail the New Flesh
4. Reichswehr In Blood
5. The Crosses Made of Bone
6. Der Geistertreiber
7. Destroyer Hekate
8. Enthralled Toxic Sabbath
9. Hexenwahn – Totenkult


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.