text: Oscar Wendt
September 15th, 2017
Each new Belphegor release is preceded by some heavy promotion and a lot of teasing indicating how much meticulous work is put into production. Nothing is accidental and each detail seems to be well-considered and mastered. This hasn’t changed now, when the eleventh full-length album of this blasphemous Austrian horde is coming out. Is Totenritual the most mature of Belphegor’s records to date?
Totenriatual starts very rapidly (which seems to be a tradition since Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn) with Baphomet which was one of the promoting song for the album and is undeniably one of the strongest compositions on Totenritual – catchy and very determined. Helmuth’s vocals sound penetrating as always cooperating with music from the very start.
‘You are tainted, the devil is in your flesh!‘ the quote from the 1971 film The Devils opens the next song and you already know, you are in for a fast ride. However, what I always loved about Belphegor is the fact that you just can’t turn the song off and want to finish that to the end as it sometimes hides something really interesting. The atmospheric acoustic outro of The Devil’s Son builds up the tension before you continue to be sodomized by Totenritual.
It has to be noticed that the untamed energy flows from tracks like Swinefever – Regent of Pigs or Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration with the latter having some properly electrifying elements that keep you on your toes. Totenritual’s immaculate production makes it every aspect sound polished up but natural at the same time. Each track has got something interesting to offer, they don’t sound repetitive and dull. It’s easy to find a moment that will rivet your attention making you listen to Totenritual more. I think that Embracing a Star remains one of my favourite tracks for its complex and elaborated arrangement that always takes my fancy when it comes to Belphegor.
So how does it compare to its predecessor, Conjuring the Dead? I think that the general structure of the album is very similar and it doesn’t have a shocking factor. Over the last two weeks, Totenritual has grown on me a lot just as much as Conjuring the Dead when it was released. The latest offering is a definite continuation of Belphegor’s professionalism and maturity that seems to never end. And now, I simply cannot wait to witness new material on the upcoming Belphegor tour.