Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Belphegor - Blood Magick Necromance

Back in January a lot of new 2011 releases were flooding in. Mitochondrion's Parasignosis was always spinning while I was scouring the internet for any potential updates on Ulcerate's The Destroyers Of All. Instead I came across Belphegor's Blood Magick Necromance, and it caught me completely by surprise for three reasons. One being I hadn't heard anything about it other than the announcement that it was being recorded, two being I was planning on seeing them sometime in April (I did, they were pretty fun live), and three being that it was actually a kickass Belphegor album.

Over the last few years Belphegor have been one of those hyper-prolific, spam releases kind of bands. 2008 saw the release of Bondage Goat Zombie which had it's fair share of decent tracks. Then 2009 saw the release of the garbage Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn, arguably the worst Belphegor album ever. It was like hearing Belphegor at their most formulaic, insipid songwriting and all, but with the added "benefit" of Peter Tagtgren's horribly clean production. Now I'm not expecting something as good as Necrodaemon Terrorsathan from Belphegor ever again, but somehow Helmuth and crew managed to really impress with Blood Magick Necromance while still retaining their newer Nuclear Blast propagated sound.

With Blood Magick Necromance you can literally hear the growth that Belphegor's songwriting went through since Pestapokalypse VI. The band has been trying to incorporate slower songs into their often blast-heavy albums. This made each Belphegor album a collection of hit and miss tracks, usually the slower ones (for example "Sexdictator Lucifer" on Bondage Goat Zombie) being snoozefests. There are a lot of slower tracks on Blood Magick Necromance, like the title track and "Rise to Fall and Fall to Rise," but unlike their predecessors these tracks aren't too boring and instead are kind of...emotional? Not sure if that's the right word, but it seems to be the feel they were going for with this album and it's predecessor. The difference between the two is that where it felt contrived and forced on Walpurgis, it feels significantly more natural here.

That's not to say there isn't traditional blast-a-thons on here either. "Angeli Mortis De Profundis" is purely aggro and "Sado Messiah" might just be the best Belphegor track in years. It's got the melodic, somewhat mellowed out minor black metal riffing that I've always loved Belphegor for, but with the speed and intensity that harkens back to Lucifer Incestus. Not to mention it's layered with hooks, making it a great album closer. A wide variety of songwriting and an easily accessible (but weak) production on Blood Magick Necromance make it a great starting place for new inductees into Belphegor's blasphemous sex-cult. It's just a shame that the cover is so fucking lame.

7.75 out of 10

Seeing them perform this album live helped my opinion a bit, but it is still a worthwhile release from a band that's been putting out mediocre albums for the past few years.


1. In Blood - Devour This Sanctity

2. Rise to Fall and Fall to Rise

3. Blood Magick Necromance

4. Discipline Through Punishment

5. Angeli Mortis De Profundis

6. Impaled Upon the Tongue of Sathan

7. Possessed Burning Eyes

8. Sado Messiah

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