Release DetailsLABEL Nuclear Blast
RELEASED ON 10/27/2006
posted on 10/2006 By:
Well damn, it hasn't even been two years yet and Austria's Belphegor have returned triumphantly with their sixth-full length release and follow up to their monumental Goatreich - Fleshcult. While the music on Pestapokalypse VI may not deviate too much from it's predecessor, the general groundwork has been sharpened and more fully developed. Blephegor, unlike the mass majority of other extreme musicians, have managed to produce a continual output of material with a distinctly original characteristic sound that distinctively progresses forward without a hint of stopping.
For those of you not already familiar with their back catalogue, Belphegor play an interesting juxtaposition of extreme metal that is neither wholly black, nor wholly death, but finds itself fitted somewhere in between as the bastard child of both tumultuous genres. The main focal point of the music on Pestapokalypse VI is based primarily around the intensely melodic swirling and fluid harmonic lines and powerful rhythms crafted by the ingeniuous duo of Hellmuth and Sigurd shifting vicariously through regal chordal accompaniments to precise, thickly percussive rhythms. Add to this the dynamic swaps between poignant snarls, resonating lower growls, and the machine like destructive maelstrom that is the percussion, and it becomes increasingly clear that Belphegor are a walking testament to the amount of creativity and detail that can be present in a composition rather than the usual sole reliance on mindless blasting.
The rich, layered harmonic texture of “Seyn Todt in Schwartz” and the heavily black metal inspired “The Ancient Enemy”, coupled with the fluctuating changes of pace from rollicking to dirge-like intensity on “Chants for the Devil” act as a particularly morose and effective counterpoint against the more direct of approach ala the predominantly straightforward yet mildly experimental venture of the vocal centered “Bluhsturm Erotica” along with “Pest Teufel Apokalypse”, which capitalizes more on the frenzied leadwork and ferocious guitarlines behind machine gun blasts. This inherent sense of dynamics and diversity throughout and between the songs manages to fashion an unstoppably crushing intensity that flows and morphs throughout the album, providing a prodigious climax that culminates in the form of the regal bombast of the particularly blasphemous “Sanctus Perversum”. Granted there will always be some amount of standout tracks in the sense that each particular person will be won over differently, but as far as an impersonal approach is concerned, there is no such thing as a weak cut or a moment of boredom to be had here.
With each release the grotesque beast that is Belphegor becomes more refined in all its utterly compelling orchestration and entrancing execution. Almost all shreds of the visceral, primarily death metal oriented The Last Supper era brutality have faded away as a mere backdrop to the ornate, complex intricacies and well thought out harmonic leads that have been boiling under the surface of their music ever since Necrodaemon Terrorsathan. Belphegor have always had an unbridled brilliance in their phenomenal ability to perfectly capture the darkest moods and eeriest melodies possible in extreme music, creating a sinister ambiance without parallel. In fact, in about every way Pestapokalypse VI seems like the logical and gradual evolution of an infernal demon that has finally reached its full maturity. Now this demon is spreading it’s majestic wings, swooping down to terrorize and devour the souls of mankind in a glorious rage of macabre horror. Moments like album opener "Hell's Ambassador" clearly display their ability to reformulate the past while simultaneously marching forward with a stringent determination.
My only words of caution regarding Pestapokalypse VI is that Belphegor is in many regards a love or hate band with little to no room for ground in between. But for those of you who can brave the eternal hellfire Pestapokalypse VI offers will find themselves continuously being rewarded by the band's uncanny penchant for crafting albums that while immediately powerful and arresting, harbor a deeper refinement and subtlety that slowly unfurls over time, gradually entrancing the listener with memorable songs that all tie into a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Thematically speaking this is perhaps not the most innovative album. I’ve always wondered when heresy will stop being so in vogue, but rather than descend into a simple novelty of image, Belphegor are one of the few that manage to carefully navigate the line between rabid entertainment and plain absurdity. Pestapokalypse VI is the type of record that’ll actually make you wish there was a god just so you could subsequently blaspheme him.
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