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Belphegor: Bondage Goat Zombie

Once you move past the off-the-wall CD cover (jeez guys, how bizarre can you get?), the latest from Austria's Belphegor reveals itself to be a punishing yet highly epic sounding statement of sizzling blackened death metal. Bondage Goat Zombie represents more of the trademark Belphegor sound we have all come to love, but there's a greater sense of maturity here, and to my ears the black metal element really takes over on this one, with an added melodic flair that we've yet to hear from this band previously.

The opening title track is just a crushing number, complete with jackhammer blast beats from session drummer Toturer, manic guitar riffs, and the searing growls & screams from mainman Helmuth. That epic sound I spoke about takes over on the melodic ripper "Stigma Diabolicum", but the band rampages forth with savage intensity on the breathtaking "Armageddon's Raid ", blast beats and Dark Funeral styled riffing laying waste to the musical landscape, occasionally disrupted by some slower doom riffs that really add to the atmosphere of this scorcher. "Justine: Soaked in Blood" is one of the more death metal styled pieces here, Helmuth's blood soaked growls setting the pace over thunderous riffs, while "Sex Dictator Lucifer" ( I can't make these song titles up!) plows along at a grueling pace, led by Helmuth's mix of gravelly black metal shrieks and lower register growls. It's back to relentless black metal on "Shred for Sathan" (with those symphonic Dark Funeral-ish tremelo picked riffs appearing again), before the band launches into the highlight of the album, "Chronicles of Crime". This gem has an almost Nile feel to it as far as the Middle Eastern tinged riffs and complex arrangements. If you like epic sounding extreme metal, start right here on this killer cut. Both Toturer and bassist Serpenth fire off volleys of inhuman blasts, and Helmuth's raging riffs slice like a meat cleaver, leaving the listener absolutely breathless. After the somewhat gothic/death throwaway number "Sukkubus Lustrate", the band closes out the album with the atmospheric black metal piece "Der Rutenmarsch", a real dramatic number that ends the CD on a high note.

Belphegor are now over a decade into their existence, with a slew of strong extreme metal releases under their belt, but Bondage Goat Zombie might just be their magum opus. So grab a bowl of this Satanic stew and be prepared to slip into the darkness of hell.


Track Listing
1. Bondage Goat Zombie
2. Stigma Diabolicum
3. Armageddon's Raid
4. Justine: Soaked in Blood
5. Sexdictator Lucifer
6. Shred for Sathan
7. Chronicles of Crime
8. Sukkubus Lustrate
9. Der Rutenmarsch

Added: May 31st 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Belphegor Website
Hits: 2398
Language: english

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Belphegor: Bondage Goat Zombie
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-05-31 07:32:01
My Score:

Though the band can celebrate being at this type of thing for over a decade now it seems that they have chosen to continue to press on and invigorate the Blackened Death Metal genre as opposed to sitting back to muse on that which they had previously unleashed upon the world. That's an interesting fact when one considers the band is named after a demon of discovery and genius invention. This demon is also associated with getting rich quick through this stuff and while I cannot attest to bands of this type becoming rich all that easily, I can definitely say that groups like Belphegor have certainly been ingenious in their manner of delivery and execution when it comes to this level of Black Metal. "Bondage Goat Zombie" is the bands seventh album and their second for Nuclear Blast Records. Their association with the label has been an exciting one and kept the band on tour almost constantly after the release of "Pestapokalypse VI". With this album the stateside fan base who had been clamoring for them finally got a chance to see them in person on tours such as the "Blackest of the Black" with Glen Danzig, "Unleashed World Tour" and "Lucifer over America" with Rotting Christ and Immolation. On each of these appearances it was very clear that Belphegor was not a band to be taken as a mere opener but something far more intense and powerful to be viewed with awe and Metal respect. The new album continues the bands musical onslaught and will come as somewhat of a surprise for their longtime fans as there are quite a few upgrades in their sound as opposed to what they might have grown used to being executed in the past. Yes the throttling speed that you know and love from the band is still there and with their session drummer Toturer there are blast beats galore to enjoy at almost every turn on top of blistering riffs. The thing that might surprise the conventional fan is the level of musical proficiency that the guys have kicked into gear with this one. "Bondage Goat Zombie" is not your Father's Blackened Death Metal but instead something heavier, slightly darker and features dramatic musical passages that guide you further down into the depths of Hell where the group oversees as ambassadors.

If you think I am lying, well then feel free to proceed unguided at your own demise as the opening title track draws you into its grasp and only gets tighter as "Stigma Diaboli" kicks into gear. Its imposing stuff and one could expect no less with a guitarist/singer like Helmuth. The hulking purveyor of Metal means business on every track and while he teases with a calm melodic intro for "Armageddon's Raid", he quickly decimates you for not paying more attention when the main riff begins. There are assorted deviations from the norm taken by the band who offer up a quasi-Gothic sounding monster piece with "Sexdictator Lucifer" and then the very quick "Shred For Sathan", a song that possesses an almost Dark Funeral vibe to it. I also was rather fond of "Justine: Soaked In Blood" and as you can tell from this and the other titles the subject matter is of course just as sinister and diabolical as you would want it to be. This time around the lads are devoting the music not only to their Dark Lord but to the infamous Marquis De Sade as well and as you can imagine, the pairing finds the lyrical content not for the timid or faint of heart. Fortunately for us, those sorts don't listen to Belphegor as it would probably kill them. There is a lot of stand out work delivered with "BGZ" and at the end of the day it is safe to assume that new fans will dig right into the meat of this release while the bands existing followers will find themselves newly impressed with their heroes. What I liked most about it was how it kicked their overall musical ability into the spotlight more than ever before and this stands as a strong fist in the face of those pundits who feel music in the Extreme Metal genre requires no real talent to do. I hate saying that a particular album could very well be the best that a band has done because such a statement can be limiting or false if they up the game on their next one but suffice it to say when you listen to "Bondage Goat Zombie", you will not soon forget the demonic powers of Belphegor.




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