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Belphegor: The Devils

So when I received The Devils for review I was reminded that Belphegor are one of those bands I’ve had on my to do list for years but never got around to checking them out. So while I’m excited to finally be forced to dive in, it's also worth prefacing my review with the fact that I don’t have a history with their music. So please take that into consideration if you think my perspective is totally insane or missing the significance in comparison to the rest of their work.

One of the first things I noticed is that The Devils is produced by Jens Bogren who is easily one of the very best producers for all extreme music. Here the sound throughout is huge and full yet with plenty of space and definition. Also from what I’ve heard they have lost their previous drummer Simon Schilling, so they brought in for session work the new Obscura drum beast David Diepold. So with the band essentially being a duo of guitarist and vocalist Helmeth and Bassist Serpenth what is the album all about? Well on The Devils, Belphegor has created a powerful mix of blackened death metal viciousness, demonic and evil sounds and triumphant epicness. To my surprise as well The Devils is also loaded with melody. They open with the title track which is a heady blend of fearsome riffing and explosive drumming. The vocals are also totally evil sounding which fits perfectly and it all sounds gigantic and also somewhat doomy. They “sing” everything in German, Latin and English, which I’ve been told is their modus operandi. “Totentanz-Dance Macabre” opens with blistering black metal executions, also with a slight symphonic grandeur lurking underneath the brutality. “Glorifizierung des Teufels” seamlessly mixes melancholic acoustic guitar passages with brooding doom laden heavy guitars before expanding with chanted vocals and bone chilling power. “Damnation - Höllensturz” leans heavily into the blackened death camp and does so with extreme grace and power while also occasionally dropping in more acoustic moments. “Virtus Asinaria - Prayer” explores the melodic epicness to great effect and like the previous tracks is done with the expertise that only a band of 30 years history can have. “Kingdom of Cold Flesh” opens with almost Opeth like melodies before exploding into the melodic black metal that permeates the whole album. “Ritus Incendium Diabolus” recaptures the more evil and satanic vibe with less of the melody, however it does remain. Again the Enslaved like chants are present again too and its killer. Finally the album closes with “Creature of Fire” which evokes images of an ancient army marching off to battle while the women follow in the support camp lamenting their lot in life. On some versions they also include the bonus track “Blackest Sabbath 1997” which is more Blackened Death Metal that totally slays and is a nice addition.

So as a total Belphegor virgin I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. I love the way they seamlessly merge all the elements together without it ever feeling forced or cheesy. The Devils is an excellent example of a veteran band showing how it should be done. Powerful, melodic, heavy and demonic, and just damn good fun too.


Line-up/Musicians:
Helmuth / Guitars, Vocals
Serpenth / Bass, Backing Vocals
Guest/session musicians:
David Diepold / Drums


Tracklist
1. The Devils (5:29)
2. Totentanz - Dance Macabre (3:40)
3. Glorifizierung des Teufels (4:58)
4. Damnation - Höllensturz (5:21)
5. Virtus Asinaria - Prayer (5:18)
6. Kingdom of Cold Flesh (3:16)
7. Ritus Incendium Diabolus (5:29)
8. Creature of Fire (2:47)
Total Time 36:18
Bonus on all versions except standard CD
9. Blackest Sabbath 1997 (6:07)

Added: September 24th 2022
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 239
Language: english

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