BELPHEGOR - Totenritual
I like how this release has that soundbite proclaiming "You Are Tainted! The Devil Is In Your Flesh". It's one of a few more soundbites. Then again this is BELPHEGOR and are one of my favorite bands. Yes bias alert I have been tainted by the sounds of Austria's sons of blackened death metal for many years. I'll also admit that in my book they could do no wrong but they can be mediocre. Case in point, 2014's Conjuring the Dead was a let down for me.
But to the band's credit there were some legitamite reasons for it not being top notch. Helmuth Lehner's serious illness had an impact on his vocal chords. Also they had been putting out incredible releases at a record pace for almost ten years. Plus their early stuff was exceptional as well. So here we have their eleventh full length, along this being their twenty fifth anniversary. BELPHEGOR's latest is a welcome return to, believe it, their past. Most of this release sounds reminiscent of Lucifer Incestus, Goatreich / Fleshcult and Pestapokalypse VI. Basically we're talking about the unholy trinity they put out in the early 2000s.
For those of you new to Satan's house band I'll explain. The songs on here have a subtle touch to there deviant destructive purposes. Were as their last bunch of releases were almost symphonic. On here the band has toned things down a bit, well except for "Apophis / Black Dragon" which is typical. The rest of the album is diabolical in it's execution. The wall of sound is creepy instead of overwhelming. Well rounded song structures intertwining the blasting blackness with punishing death, most of the time in slow motion. Guitar soloing is more intricate as well.
In the end BELPHEGOR created an album severely needed by them to stay interesting. They could've just phoned in a recording of their typical Bondage Walpurgis Necromance themed release and be done with it. But no they went back to their roots to rip one a new asshole. Also one of the best albums of 2017.