Austria’s Belphegor have a rich history of pummeling audiences worldwide with their brand of black metal. While some bands mellow and get comfortable with age, this isn’t the case with this band. Totenritual is an all-out bludgeoning, and they give no less than 110 percent here! They have taken their combination of black, death, and thrash to a pinnacle on this album, and it is their finest release to date!
“Baphomet” starts the album off in true Belphegor fashion with insanely heavy riffs, guttural vocals, and precise drumming. “The Devil’s Son” is heavier and more evil, and Helmuth Lehner sounds as if he is singing straight from hell. While the chorus and bridge bring a small dose of melody to the song, it doesn’t lose any of its brutality. “Swinefever – Regent Of Pigs” is an audio assault on the listener. It is the heaviest song here, and the juxtaposition within the vocals is brilliant. This may be the best blend of the black and death sub-genres to date. “Apophis – Black Dragon” is truer to black metal, and it incorporates an evil vibe via Gregorian-like chanting. “Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration” demonstrates Belphegor spreading their evil wings a bit with a thrashy, death metal feel and ritualistic vocals. “Totenbeschworer” is an instrumental track that is slower and more melodic, followed by “Spell of Reflection” which returns to true Belphegor fury. Lehner’s acid-drenched vocals are incendiary. “Embracing A Star” is true genius, and everything about this song is perfect. The fury continues with the album-closing title track, and although it is less than three minutes in length, it oozes pure evil.
Totenritual is totally over the top in all aspects. The production is flawless, and it captures Belphegor hitting on all cylinders.
Totenritual is out now on Nuclear Blast Records. Buy it here!