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Belphegor - Pestapokalypse VI - 2006 - Nuclear Blast

Track Listing
1. Belphegor - Hell's Ambassador
2. Seyn Todt in Schwartz
3. Angel of Retribution
4. Chants for the Devil 1533
5. Pest Teufel Apokalypse
6. The Ancient Enemy
7. Bluhtsturm Erotika
8. Sanctus Perversum
9. Das Pesthaus/Miasma Epilog
For much of their career, Belphegor have been tagged as a black/death metal band. But, like most bands with that title, the black metal has mostly been a vague atmospheric addendum to their patent brand of warmongering brutal death metal. Since 2003, following their first trio of albums and a break of a few years, this Austrian juggernaut have released three more full-lengths in a four year span. And so we arrive at ‘Pestapokalypse VI’, the band’s sixth and most recent release, a bi-lingual concept album based on (what else) the Devil and pestilence.

First impression—the Goatreich reigns on. With this album, mainstay Fleshcult duo Sigurd and Hellmuth churn out their fullest album to date, brimming with blood-boiling, anti-Christian fervor, finally delivering on their ‘black/death’ metal potential. Any listener will still associate ‘Pestapokalypse VI’ with death metal first, if only one genre had to be chosen, but the black metal influence is certainly strong. The tremolo leads with their subtle changes, the rasping vocals, the minor harmonies and more are all spread throughout Belphegor’s foundation of unmistakable brutality.

Throughout their career, Belphegor have written their fair share of songs more memorable songs for pure power and punch than for actual unique content. ‘Pestapokalypse VI’, though, cements beyond a doubt this band’s status as a songwriting powerhouse, a title they’ve hedged around since ‘Lucifer Incestus’. Although the song ‘Angel of Retribution’ is very much a reprise of, ‘Sepulture of Hypocrísy’, nearly every track (that one included) is a standout for its own merits. Some for their absolute malice, others for demonic grooves or even for their layered vocal dynamics, both of these last two being fairly new introductions to Belphegor’s bag of tricks.

The only apparent symptom of this ‘Pestapokalypse’ exhibited by Belphegor is the ‘Dechristianize’ syndrome—fine drumwork marred by a poor snare. The album’s first song, ‘Hell’s Ambassadors’ opens with climactic foreboding, but once that first blastbeat hits the mood is shattered and Belphegor’s Mid-Eastern harmonic flair is lost in a haze of pops and snaps. Once the verse riff and the pitch-shifted vocal grooves arrive, the snare’s trespass is nearly forgotten, but it makes sporadic reappearances throughout. The blastbeats seem to draw out its nagging timbre the most, but fortunately these are used infrequently—session drummer Nefastus seems to prefer tom fills and tattoo patterns on the cymbals, which fit with Belphegor’s clever sense of aggression very well.

But for this single complaint, ‘Pestapokalypse VI’ is the band’s most potent album to date, and should be hailed as one of the year’s best. With this release, perhaps more of the metalized horde will realize how much we have taken Belphegor’s menacing bellows and wicked harmonies for granted all these years.

While ‘progressive’ is hardly the word to use for these veteran blasphemers (cursing Christ under this moniker for 14 years now), it is indisputable that a new level has been reached. To paraphrase Chuck Berry, ‘Roll over, Behemoth’.




--Etiam 12.08.06
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: BELPHEGOR
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Pestapokalypse VIBelphegor
2006
Etiam12/22/2006
TotenritualBelphegor
2017
Greg Watson8/30/2017


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: BELPHEGOR
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Conjuring the DeadBelphegor
2014
Greg Watson8/7/2014


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: BELPHEGOR
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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