Few extreme bands combine the best of black metal & death metal quite like the mighty Belphegor from Austria. Year after year, the band keeps getting more and more popular, and each CD release more powerful than the one before it. Here in 2011, the band has released what could be their ultimate statement, the violent, brutal, yet majestic Blood Magick Necromance. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo had a chance to get some comments from frontman Helmuth regarding the new album, tour, and all things Belphegor.
SoT: Blood Magick Necromance is perhaps one of the most cohesive albums the band has released so far. You took a little extra time to put this one together-did the band do anything differently from a writing perspective this time around?
Helmuth:Well we rehearsed our asses off, and tried a few new things - added new structures and new elements to made our sound more epic, more monumental but still fast and brutal, was the masterplan/ rule as we started the songwritting process.
Its a very special album to me, music-wise we developed a lot, to write, create and record this Lp was a trip into insanity. More shredding - more dynamics - more magic. First time that we used orchestrations in our arrangements, which give the tracks a haunting atmosphere here and there. BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE is our most intense album yet, exactly how we wanted to sound in 2011.
SoT: Belphegor is a band that has always pleased both the death metal & black metal fanbase-can you talk a little bit about how you see the band from a style/genre perspective, and where you fit in the extreme metal world?
Helmuth: First off, I dont care if - or where we fit in any scene. We've done our own thing since 1993, in our own Reich, always stayed hermetically to all and everything, walked our own path, made our own decisions. BELPHEGOR shred the diabolical Metal of Death. We have alot of NWOBHM influences, which I adore - also from classical composers, such as Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart etc.
SoT: Back to the new album, how happy are you with it, and how has reaction been from the fans & critics so far?
Helmuth: Feedback was enormous worldwide, a lot of people like the new album, thats cool you know. I mean if not, i dont give a shit anyway. Musickwise I dont care about anything, I do and try what ever i want to do, this is important to me, to not release the same album over and over again.
We played a bunch new songs on the DEICIDE tour - a few weeks ago. They really are working amazing in a live situation. We also use the samples from the album here and there and this makes all more sick and the feeling/ emotions/ atmosphere gets deeper...its more a convent, a celebration for the devil, than a usual metal show.
Fire. Its Magick. Its chaos. This is BELPHEGOR.
SoT: Do you have any favorite tracks on the CD? Which ones are you looking at adding to the live setlist?
Helmuth: There are eight tracks, each song has his strong moments. No fillers. We decided for the opener, IN BLOOD - DEVOUR THIS SANCTITY, RISE TO FALL AND FALL TO RISE ( with original verses from ALEISTER CROWLEY - The Great Beast 666 ), IMPALED UPON THE TONGUE OF SATHAN and the hyperblasting ANGELI MORTIS DE PROFUNDIS.
The rest is a mix of our older works, were we celebrate songs such as LUCIFER INCESTUS, BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE, BELPHEGOR - HELLS AMBASSADOR, JUSTINE SOAKED IN BLOOD etc
We always concentrate in a live situation on the faster songs, you know - to gurantee the die - hard demons an intense death/ black metal explosion, a brutal - violent hellride that you dont forget.
SoT: Speaking of the live front, you have a US tour lined up-can you talk a little bit about that?
Helmuth: All is packed, we prepare and rehearse for the upcoming North Amercan raid with SEPULTURA, NEURAXIS, HATE, KOK, BONDED BY BLOOD and fly over to Canada on Sunday. Tour kicks of Monday in Toronto "The Opera House", looking forward to this Death Raid. Its an interesting billing, so I'm sure this tour will get a lot of attention.
I dig it to tour with bands whose music i really like.
SoT: With such a varied sound, the band must also have some varied influences. Please give us some history on the individual band members influences, and how all of your interests brought you together to form Belphegor?
Helmuth: There are two Belphegor eras, one was from 1993 - 2007 with Sigurd Hagenauer on guitar ( I dedicated him a track on the new album BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE, entiled POSSESSED BURNING EYES ), it was him and me, than he had to leave because of health problems.
Mr. Serpenth joined in 2006, and since this time its him and me that presents BELPHEGOR. The rest were hired session members, whoh wasnt included in the creative process, such as song writting etc., some drummers appeared on lp´s, like Torturer, Nefastus, Marthyn.
While others was recruited only for live appearances. It's cool to work and play music with different people, so it doesn't get boring and you get always a lot of extra energy in the band. Especially for live performances, amazing...and then you can push the force forward.
SoT: What other bands on the scene are you most impressed with these days?
Helmuth:There are so many bands around that i adore. The list would be never ending, one thing for sure - many people are interested again in real music, not this plastic - computer crap. Guitar music gets stronger and stronger - again, its a good thing you know, good times for extreme sounds. Metal in general.
SoT: Are there any cities in the world that you most like to play in, and why?
Helmuth:We traveled and shredded the world a few times and I am more than thankful for it. Well, we still missed two continents, Asia and Australia, hope we can make it in 2011 and promote our new album, BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE there... its about time to march on over there!
SoT: Heavy metal fans across the world are all very different from each other-can you talk about who the most supportive & rowdy fans are?
Helmuth:Rock, Metal whatever people are the best in the world, and more loyal than all this trendy radio listeners of todays shitty mainstream plastic music.
So, it always depends. I mean as long as the demons are into it, get loud, sceam their lungs out and give sickest response, its good for us and we give extra energy and shred our songs in uttermost brutality in the crowd.
In Europe people are more into banging you know, in the USA you have this circle pits etc going on what is also cool and brutal.
I also have no problems with stage divers, on the contrary, as long as they dont jump around on stage and fuck shit up, I really dig it.
Latin America has the metal rowdys haharrrrrrrrr and I dont mean it in a bad way,...they know how to celebrate metal.
Its sick u know, we play worldwide loads of shows, see so much on this planet - bring the devil, the chaos to your town,....we are road dogs, and people thank us and bang their heads, dive and doing wild mosh pits - sometimes a show is like an apokalypse....its more like war than a concert.
This is what Death/ Black is all about...
SoT: Where do you see Belphegor 5 years from now?
Helmuth: In hell. Best place for a vacation after this life... www.belphegor.at
(Click here to read our review of Blood Magick Necromance)