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jools green
Jools Green
13th September 2017


Austrian masters of blackened Death Metal return with another crushing offering, their eleventh, in the shape of 'Totenritual' and it's yet another intense and rather splendid cornucopia of blasphemy and perversion and frankly I'd be disappointed if it were anything less.

The line-up is expanded to a trio and joining Helmuth and Serpenth for this release is new drummer Simon 'Blood Hammer' Schilling who does a superb job, giving a strong, tight delivery.

'Totenritual' encompasses nine tracks that have a haunting sense of melody, garnished with well chosen unnerving sound-bites and that excellent combo of Serpenth's vitriolic backing vocal complementing Helmuth's brutal growl. From the opening track, 'Baphomet', you get the instantly recognisable classic Belphegor sound from those unique riffs.

'The Devil's Son' opens on the line: "You are tainted, the Devil is in your flesh," followed by a blood curdling scream, then a superbly brutal death riff delivery with a manic midpoint thrashy shred contrasted by a slower clean reflective closer. 'Swinefever - Regent Of Pigs' is dark and punchy with excellent lead work in the second half and 'Apophis - Black Dragon' has a sinister chant like quality to the vocal delivery, made dark by well placed single bell tolls and completed by haunting lead work.

Three tracks go for a more straightforward Death Metal approach, by Belphegor's standards anyhow; 'Totenkult - Exegesis Of Deterioration', 'Spell Of Reflection', which is on the whole slower and more sinister with a vitriolic leaning to the vocals until midway when a burst of shredding elevates the pace briefly, enhanced by an addictive groove to the crushing repeat riff and 'Embracing A Star' which opens on militaristic drum beats and mirroring riffs; a well phrased track with stunning tempo shifts and a very acidic and varied vocal delivery, ending as it began on militaristic drum work.

Breaking things up a bit between the wall of death that is 'Totenkult - Exegesis Of Deterioration' and Spell Of Reflection’ is 'Totenbeschwörer', a great little instrumental with a slow but dark and heavy haunting melody that builds and builds before dropping off to an unworldly sound.

The final and title track, 'Totenritual' closes the album in brutal style. It's atmospheric and crushingly manic.

The Devil's Son
Swinefever - Regent Of Pigs
Apophis - Black Dragon
Totenkult - Exegesis Of Deterioration
Spell Of Reflection
Embracing A Star

Overall nine great tracks, no favourites and no duff ones either. It's extreme, intense and unmistakably and uniquely Belphegor, with a subtle degree of melody, just enough to give listenability but without softening the brutality.

'Totenritual' is available from Nuclear Blast from 15th September.




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