September 3, 2014 Belphegor – Conjuring the Dead (Album review)
Coming off their twentieth anniversary last year, blackened death metal heathens Belphegor rise again releasing another diabolical album Conjuring the Dead. This new addition is the bands tenth studio album since its formation in Salzburg, Austria back in 1991 under the alias Betrayer. An uncompromising and menacing force in the extreme metal scene, Belphegor has released some of the heaviest and most brutally evil albums of the past twenty years. After surviving a near fatal run-in with typhoid fever two years ago, mastermind lead guitarist and frontman Helmuth Lehner has bounced back stronger than ever. Achieving record-breaking billboard numbers across the North American and European continents, Belphegor is a persisting force to be reckoned with. Along with Helmuth and bassist Serpenth, live members drummer Martin “Marthyn” Jovanović , and guitarist Schoft.
The bands last album Blood Magick Necromance (2011) was globally very successful and widely accepted by fans and critics alike, as Belphegor’s heaviest installment yet; a statement which may be redacted upon listening to the new album. Conjuring The Dead is punishing from the beginning “Gasmask Terror” hits like an immense blacked wind with rib cage rattling double bass, skin ripping blast beats, and intestinal churning pinch harmonics. Marthyn unveils an impressively vicious technical ability in this opening track, a perfect precursor to the rest of the infernal album. Absorbing the demon spawn “In Death” is like being shattered by a wrecking ball over and over. Death does not get any more metal than this. Belphegor has returned to a darker and more primal form not seen since the days of Goatreich-Fleshcult (2005), and Pestapokalypse VI (2006). This assessment is more than prevalent in volatile tracks such as “Rex Tremendae Majestatis” and “Black Winged Torment”.
As a piece of black art, the record is as impressive musically as it is vocally. With the help of the fabled sound board wizard Eric Rutan, this is some of Helmuth’s most impressive vocal work. The resulting outcome, Conjuring the Dead, is more monstrous and raw than the metal community had expected. Riddled with an overtly heavy and relentless death metal influence, black metal claws its way in to the undertones of the record. Time and time again, Belphegor has mastered the metallurgy of these two genre’s fusing a coherent and tumultuous resonance. “Legions of Destruction” is one of the meanest creations in the history of these metal tyrants. The only physical narrative that could accompany this song is the battle with the most causalities in recorded history, Stalingrad – if it were fought with sledgehammers only. The diversity from track to track causes anticipation to gradually rise like a giant agitated beast.
As a unified piece of musical malevolence, the entire album is majestically eerie. This is the realization achieved with the final track of the album “Pactum In Aeternum”. Like the slow and somber sealing of a tomb, as stone grinds on stone, the album is laid to rest with a tranquilizing deposition. Although musically it is not their fastest album, it is the most diverse, displaying bits and pieces reminiscent of all previous releases from The Last Super(1995) to Blood Magick Necromance. As a band with continued growth and success for over two decades, they have come around full circle. The ability to smash the abundant diversity of an entire discography into one solid album is a testament to Belphegor legend, both in the present and the future to come. The album is a complete lecherous terror and will leave listeners feeling the devils virtues in their loins. CrypticRock give it 4.5 out of 5.