Death metal legends Belphegor have certainly had an interesting time over their twenty-five-year journey. From reaching the heights of being one of the most highly regarded death metal bands in the world they’ve also had obscure things such as their lead singer, Helmuth Lehner, being attacked by an orthodox activist at an airport and him also being struck down with typhoid fever during a South American tour. What has changed over the years is the band’s consistency, and they have just delivered great album after great album.
Now the masters bring us their eleventh feature length album – Totenritual – an album that shows that they are still at the head of the death metal realm. Opening track ‘Baphomet’ goes to a guttural depth and then has a stunning guitar riff from Lehner that seems to jut out from your speaker and threaten to grab you.
A scream of ‘YOU’RE TAINTED’ kicks off ‘The Devil’s Son’ and the track doesn’t let up at all. The brutal onslaught is death metal at its very best, while at times Lehner produces some amazing almost thrash metal style riffs on the guitar while a slower stringed section shows a band that is more than capable of pulling off anything they set their mind to. The same can be said as they ambitiously deliver ‘Totenbeschworer’ – an instrumental track that just keeps building and building and the atmospheric closer, ‘Totenritual.’
While ‘Totenkult – Exegesis Of Deterioration,’ ‘Spell Of Reflection’ and ‘Embracing A Star’ are stock-standard death metal tracks Totenritual reaches great heights with ‘Swinefever – Regent Of Pigs’ which embraces the darkness and delivers a great mix of two different growls for vocals, and ‘Apophis – Black Dragon’ which contains amazing vocals that sound like chants and again a slower strings part.
Totenritual shows that there is still life in Belphegor. As a band that just seems to get better with age and once again they deliver an amazing slab of death metal. Not for the faint-hearted but if you like extreme metal, then you are going to love Totenritual.