Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop! Today I want to talk about Belphegor, the record they’re dropping this month (their 12th), and especially one of the singles (with video) they have released from the new record. The Devils (Nuclear Blast) is due to drop on June 22, 2022. Belphegor have been beating-out the daylights for a long time, and the new album sounds as if it will continue in the carnage.
Belphegor (named after the famed demon of folklore) was formed in 1993 in Salzburg, Austria. Before that, they were known as betrayer, which formed in 1991. I consider Belphegor Black Metal, while they’re considered Blackened Death Metal by the mainstream. Again, the time continuum has us at a point where the clear lines of distinction, for many bands, have dissolved. Belphegor wears corpse paint and speak succinctly about the Devil and the hoard of demons. I think that qualifies as Black Metal! LOL
The band has had many line-up changes over the years. One member has been the constant throughout:
- Helmuth Lehner – guitars (1991-present), vocals (1996-present)
- Serpenth – bass, backing vocals (2006-present)
- Molokh – guitars (2015-2016, 2020-present)
- James Stewart – drums (2021-present)
Singles from The Devils
“Totentanz – Dance Macabre” is the first single from The Devils. It’s a crushing banger; classic Black Metal blast beats with fast tremolo picking. Helmuth utilizes a combination of Blackened vocals and deep register gutterals. The song refers to a 19th century Western dance drama (Germany) where Death would be portrayed, dancing around seizing people one after the other, regardless of class or privilege.
“Blackest Sabbath 1997” is a remastered classic from Belphegor. As you can hear, in 25 years, the band hasn’t evolved far from Helmuth’s original vision. Classic Black Metal chord progression, Blackened vocals and blast beats; with time changes, melodies, and great harmonies.
“Virtus Asinaria – Prayer” is the newest single (and video) to drop from The Devils. The track has a very different pace; it is literally a prayer based in an historical context. It is very dark, and very contemplative. Fast tremolo picking, harmonized with rhythmic chanting. It’s a beautiful song.
So, the title is Latin for, “[the] virtue [of an/the] ass.” The reference can be traced back to a Dark Age feast practiced in ancient France (especially). The most beautiful virgin from the region would be selected and placed on a donkey for the feast and prayer ritual. The image is of the (pregnant) Virgin Mary. The ritual is infamous for debauchery and sexual orgies. The practice was outlawed in the 16th century (1533) by the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, Belphegor’s use of the ritual, and Helmuth’s reference to 1533.
I love what I’m hearing from these three tracks! And you already know I’ll have a full Album Review when it’s released!