Belphegor - Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn
Nuclear Blast
Blackened Death Metal
9 songs (39:23)
Release year: 2009
Belphegor, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Dan
When listening to Belphegor's latest album, Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn, it is simply impossible not to go through an initial eyebrow raising moment that says "oh, no, not again!". That at least was your reviewer's first reaction upon hearing the somewhat redundant opening blasts of Blackened Death Metal displayed on Walpurgis Rites. It sounds and looks exactly as one would have expected, vicious lead guitar tremolo attacks, highspeed drumming, Death grunts and Black Metal shrieks, more evil than evil itself imagery. And you could stop listening after the opening song, except...

When there's no novelty in an album, one starts searching for something else. And in this case, one also finds. First there's the production, clean to almost impeccable, a nice one for Nuclear Blast. Then there's the execution. Since Belphegor have been around for quite a while now, this doesn't come as a surprise, nevertheless the nice execution in all the sections compensates somewhat for the redundancy of the band's offerings. Next comes the musicality. As strange as this may sound, when listening attentively one can hear very welcomed sections of great musicality pointing their heads from the engulfing Black Metal-ish maelstrom; they can be heard especially on - the epically constructed - Veneration Diaboli - I Am Sin and Reichswehr In Blood. They come precisely when the lead guitar decides to alternate tremolos on more than a single note giving the sound some well deserverd nuances and the listener some indispensable breathing space. Even better, when the lead guitar escapes into outrigt soloing - like towards the end of Destroyer Hekate - there is some sense of virtuosity in the air, but these moments are rather rare. Some melody is achieved even by the rhythm guitar whose crushing riffs sometimes create the distinct impression that they come straight from the guts of a classical music orchestra. And finally, this album has an interesting Rammstein moment with the mid paced Der Geistertreiber.

With each Belphegor release you definitely know what to expect and the band clearly delivers to the required standard. And they are very suited candidates to the title of "Austrian death machine", too bad it's already taken:) But after scratching the surface there is not much left, with a few welcomed exceptions which this review tried to highlight. Even if this reviewer hasn't been entirely convinced by Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn, you might want to give this one a spin or two and note the one or two songs that really stand out.
Killing Songs :
Veneratio Diaboli - I Am Sin, Destroyer Hekate
Dan quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Belphegor that we have reviewed:
Belphegor - Goatreich - Fleshcult reviewed by Jared and quoted 85 / 100
Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Belphegor - Blood Magick Necromance reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Belphegor - Lucifer Incestus reviewed by Tony and quoted 86 / 100
Belphegor - Pestapokalypse VI reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
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