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'Conjuring The Dead'
(Nuclear Blast)

jools green

Jools Green


'Conjuring The Dead', full length studio release number ten from Austrian death/black Metal duo Belphegor, is an apt name for an album that looked, a few years ago, like it may never happen after serious health issues for main-man Helmuth put the band on hold for about a year.

This long awaited follow up to 2011s 'Blood Magick Necromance' is ten chunks of brutality. It's not an easy listen but it is a worthwhile challenge that, with repeated listens, really grows on you; there's a lot to take in.

It certainly seem a faster and more extreme release than previous offerings, with a slightly more technical edge than before. All the stops have been pulled for this album and the lyrics are spawned from the usual delightfully blasphemous sources of inspiration.

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Helmuth really has pushed his vocal capabilities across the whole of this album. He is joined by Serpenth on bass as usual and there is additional help on the album from Marthyn (Bled Dry) covering drums, blasting out across the release at an incendiary pace and Schoft supplying extra guitars along with two guest vocalists on the brutal 'Legions Of Destruction', Glen Benton (Deicide) and Attila (Mayhem).

The track certainly benefits from the extra vocal input and is the standout track of this release not just for the extra vocals but because the guitars and drum work have that extra edge also.

The excellent opening track, 'Gasmask Terror', which was released as a single and album teaser back in June, is an intense frontal assault of your senses and a great start to the album. 'Conjuring The Dead ' has a dark yet amusing opening sound-bite before expanding out to a track of crushing proportions.

My only issue - just a little too much squeal from the guitars but they are balanced with some excellent classic 'Belphegor' riffs.

'In Death' has a noticeably European death Metal feel, particularly compared to the US influence on 'Gasmask Terror', along with superbly brutal vocals and some sick latter part guitars.

The dark sinister 'Rex Tremendae Majestatis' has more of the trademark, instantly recognizable Belphegor guitar and vocal sound and a strong anti-Christian atmosphere while 'Black Winged Torment' is the most intense and blackened track of the album with a rather good but brief thrash guitar segment to the latter part, after which you get time to draw breath and recollect you thoughts with 'The Eyes', a short reflective, almost melancholic guitar led instrumental before the brutality returns with the crushing, previously mentioned 'Legions Of Destruction'.

Aside from the abundance of squeals 'Flesh, Bones And Blood' is quite a chugging beast of a track.

Vocal screams offset more guitar squeals on 'Lucifer, Take Her!', but I do like this track, it's varied and the clever switching throughout and broad vocal range make it an interesting listen, it runs seamlessly into the final track, the poignantly blasphemous 'Pactum In Aeternum'.

The production is very good, so there are no surprises that Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) has been behind that task and Greek artist Seth Siro Anton, who was responsible for the cover of 'Pestapokalypse IV' in 2006 has done the artwork for this release, overall this is a pretty impressive return for Belphegor.

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