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Album Reviews : Belphegor – Totenritual

By on September 17, 2017

Belphegor‘s punishing sound has reigned supreme for a long time, proving to be an absolutely relentless mix of Norwegian black metal and death metal. The band has returned in 2017 with the sinister power of ‘Totenritual‘, yet another release that consolidates the Austrian metallers prowess, talent and the sheer obscurity of their music. They truly are a class apart and ‘Totenritual’ is proof of this.

Baphomet’ begins the proceedings of this album on a powerful, heavy note, Helmuth’s vocals forging through and sending chills down your spine. The stomping riffs and Gojira-esque licks keep things really interesting and unpredictable as does that groove-laden sludge feel. Samples from the 1971 horror flick ‘The Devils’ sets the tone for the next song, ‘The Devil’s Son‘, immediately brings that spark back to the mix, blurring the lines of ominous melody and dominating death metal with the greatest of ease. The main verses feature a fair amount of complexity above the ever furious drumming, which is the one aspect that stands out here. ‘Save your prayers, God is not here with us now, there is only the darkness‘. ‘Swinefever‘ continues the cacophonic bliss as it blasts forth brain-rattling riffs, the dual vocal ranges working in sync, adding to the absolutely hellish nature of this track. Solely through their music, Belphegor’s commanding presence is undeniable. Helmuth’s vocals are sharp, versatile and absolutely gut-wrenching.

Things become even murkier and sinister with the sheer intensity of ‘Apophis – Black Dragon‘, a crushing track that boasts the grim atmosphere this band has mastered creating with their music, cold and haunting, with an addictive chorus to boot. The slow bludgeoning riffs guide the vocals that seem to summon your soul from the depths of your being; along with ‘Blood Hammer’s insane double kick ferocity that will make you want to start a mosh-pit wherever you are.

Spell of Reflection‘ and ‘Embracing a Star’ are essentially the most brutal, slow-paced death metal tracks served with a generous side of delicious, blackened riffs. The slow, tumultuous stomp of these tracks coupled with the blood-curdling growls and shrieks really add to the harrowing atmosphere of every minute of Belphegor’s music; just like the more ominous sections of atmospheric faux melodies that will send you into a momentary trance before brutally bringing you back to reality. ‘Embracing a Star‘ allows the listener a moment to breathe with it’s simple enough intro before erupting into a mid-paced ritualistic series of deep choral chants and raspy demonic vocals, with yet another seemingly soft section making you drift away before pounding your eardrums hard again with beastly riffs and demonic vocals.

Continuing on from the previous track as the final chapter in this sinister story, the title track is terrifying and perfect. It is exactly how I’d expect Belphegor to bring their album to an end, teasing the listener with sounds that feel an eerie presence lurking next to you. Belphegor has brought together the best of black and death metal with their latest offering, evolving significantly from their existing style while maintaining their signature savage style.  Brutally magnificent, ‘Totenritual’ is definitely one of the heaviest, extreme albums you will hear all year.

Band: Belphegor
Album: Totenritual
Year: 2017
Genre: Extreme Metal
Label:  Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: Austria

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.