Belphegor - _Conjuring the Dead_
(Nuclear Blast, 2014)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7 out of 10)
There are many aspects about metal music that can easily be downright repulsive to those on the outside. To most people, the fact that we can listen to this stuff, let alone enjoy it, is utterly baffling. But to each his own, of course, and all that open-minded, forward-thinking stuff, right? Wrong!

A lot of metal fans are just so immersed in their daily grind of music that they don't actually realize how deep they've sunk into this underworld of distortion. So while a choice like Belphegor would make very good sense to many a metalhead trying to get his point across to a non-metal friend, the fact that their album covers are how they are should be enough to prove how bad of a decision this actually is. Let's just say that stuff like Belphegor isn't really the best band to improve metal's image in your friends' eyes, so let's just keep it between us, shall we? Having said that though, I do feel the need to point out that Belphegor's tenth studio album _Conjuring the Dead_ is a much welcome addition to any metalhead's library and a very commendable effort by these Austrians.

Having hardly shown any interest in ever crossing the forty minute mark, the duo of Helmuth and Serpenth get their point across within the span of thirty-seven minutes on _Conjuring the Dead_, making for a short and sweet album that doesn't even come close to overstaying its welcome. The opening track "Gasmask Terror" follows the tried and true Belphegor formula of blitzkrieg riffing and brief melodies served up with thumping bass lines and torrential drumming. The album's longest piece "Rex Tremendae Majestatis" features a lot of shape-shifting vocals supported with trilled melodies that seamlessly seep into each other, all that with the very capable Marthyn keeping up on the drums. Guitar solos aren't exempt from mentioning as "In Death" and "Legions of Destruction" shell out some serious shredding worthy of multiple listens.

All these technical intricacies that have come to define the Belphegor sound come with the usual dictum of Satanism, blasphemy, sadomasochism and perversion that seems to haunt Helmuth whenever he attempts to write lyrics. These lyrical themes may have had a certain shock element when they were first used, but by the tenth record, the novelty has worn off, leaving behind it a lyrically stagnant band; albeit a technically improving one. Despite the catchy and relatively accessible songwriting, _Conjuring the Dead_ is a refreshing album but not a potent one. It is another successful execution of the Belphegor formula that has been honed in for many years now, but it is quite honestly just a hair weaker than its predecessor _Blood Magick Necromance_.


(article published 16/10/2014)

3/6/2011 A El Naby 8 Belphegor - Blood Magick Necromance
4/27/2008 J Smit 5 Belphegor - Bondage Goat Zombie
12/26/2006 J Smit 8.5 Belphegor - Pestapokalypse VI
4/7/2005 T DePalma 6 Belphegor - Goatreich - Fleshcult
12/26/2003 M Noll 8 Belphegor - Lucifer Incestus
7/3/2002 M Noll 8.5 Belphegor - Necrodaemon Terrorsathan
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