Album Review: Belphegor’s “Totenritual”

Belphegor is a band I’ve loved for as long as I’ve loved Heavy Metal. I know a lot of metal heads who have a love hate relationship with them, for me I lost it just a little bit, with their 2008 release ‘Bondage Goat Zombie,’ but their 2014 release ‘Conjuring the Dead’ is still one of my favorite Blackened Death Metal Releases, until now.

The album kicks off with ‘Baphomet,’ which is also the first Lyric video they released in the weeks that lead up to this album release. I almost cried with happiness when I first watched this video because it incorporates everything I love about Belphegor, and none of the stuff I didn’t like so much with Bondage Goat Zombie. This can be said for the entire album, I felt I was almost holding my breath waiting for the song I wouldn’t like as much as the others, or the one that didn’t fit, but these moments don’t exist on this album.

The production is perfect, perfect levels, perfect solos and the intros and outro’s are a whole other level of perfection! I feel like if you aren’t going to listen to the album from start to finish, then some of the songs on this album should be listened to in pairs and triplets. ‘Baphomet’ is the intro to the whole album then ‘The Devil’s Son’/’Swinefever’/’Apophis’ go together, then ‘Totenbeschworer‘ is definitely a standalone song and lastly ‘Embracing a Star’/ ‘Totenritual should also be listened to together. But that is just my take on the album!

The spoken intros in ‘The Devils Son’ and ‘Swinefever’ set the tone for the whole album perfectly. ‘You are tainted, the devil is in your flesh’ and ‘Save your prayers, god is not here, there is only darkness’ pretty much sum up the entire album in those two sentences. ‘The Devil’s Son’ is one of my favorite songs on this album – That growl after the intro, those drums, that guitar tone! This IS pure Blackened Death Metal artistry. THIS IS BLACKENED DEATH METAL how it is meant to sound. So many times I find myself grinning manically while listening to this song. The pure evilness, the levels, vocals, guitars are pure evil genius, and it’s full on in your face (and ears) savagery. Followed by ‘Swinefever’ which has the best outro I’ve heard in a song…. EVER!!

Apophis’ follows, and this track reminds me of how popular culture would deem satanic rituals to be. ‘Apophis’ was the ancient Egyptian spirit of evil, darkness and destruction. As the arch enemy of the sun god, Ra, he was a malevolent force who could never entirely be vanquished. This song seems like a honoring of him, if not an honoring, almost like a summoning. Like ‘The Devil’s Son’ this is another masterfully evil song.

‘Totenbeshchworer’ for me, is a stand out track. It is an instrumental one but it doesn’t feel like it is missing vocals, it isn’t a bridge between two songs or an afterthought. It took me on a journey and while it is an instrumental song, it retains the powerfulness of the album. To me it speaks of ritual, religion, powerful inner truth and strength.

Embracing a star’ together with ‘Totenritual’ are my favorite tracks musically (but only JUST!) With the haunting intro followed by the drums, going into the vocals this is another song that lyrically sounds like the summoning of a demon. It is a song that takes you on a journey, encompassing everything that Belphegor stands for, and all of their power and talent is expressed in these combined tracks;  combined these two are the best metal tracks I’ve heard all year.

It’s always hard, thinking of music on a level with other metal bands, especially when thinking of different genres, but aside from NZ band Bloodnut’s song ‘Space Orangutan’ these are it. I can die and go to heaven (or hell) now. My musical journey is complete. No songs will ever compete with these two. I’ve never heard such a perfect ending to an album. Often albums sound better when listened to on random, but like label mates ‘Fleshgod Apocalypse,’ Belphegor is a band whose albums tell a story and are meant to be listened to from start to finish. THIS is an album all Blackened Death Metal fans NEED TO OWN! They are on the road soon, and I for one can’t wait to see them at their Glasgow show for the first time. I’m meant to be reviewing the show, I need to work out if I can still go in the mosh pit and review at the same time. Time will tell.

By Sass_Metal


Band Members:
Helmuth: Heretic Grunts/ Chainsaw,
Serpenth: Bass Devastator/ Vokills,
Bloodhammer: Drums, Impaler: 6-String Storm [Live]


To find out more about the band, follow the links below:

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