I have a great admiration for BELPHEGOR. Helmuth and his cohorts have very much created their own world and a distinct, evil sound to go with it. Naturally, we’ll have the usual cultists who insist only on their earliest material, back when they sounded like a thousand other bands instead of themselves. It takes vision and a certain amount of guts to break with the usual death and black metal cliques and come up with something fairly original.
With The Devils, we get a distillation of the modern BELPHEGOR sound. There’s low tuned and blasting death metal touches mixed with fast, melodic black metal, but there’s more. There’s always been a certain sadness and melancholy amidst all the Satanic blasphemy and you can hear that in just about every track here. There’s also some very Middle Eastern riffing, best heard on the excellent ‘Kingdom Of Cold Flesh’ and a Latin, almost Gregorian approach to backing vocals. The gloomy and Gothic ‘Glorifizierung des Teufels’ has an extremely Germanic sound to it, like something from the early Medieval period transformed into heavy and brutal music.
Speed freaks will be somewhat disappointed, as there is more medium and slow paced riffing, but listen to the complexities of tracks like ‘Ritus Incendium Diabolus’ and ‘Virtus Asinaria—Prayer’ and you will hear a lot going on, a lot of varied influences. The production is very clear, which is a necessity for complex music, but there’s still a lot of brutality, especially in the punishing drums of session man David Diepold, who should really be made a full-time member of the band. Helmuth does a great job not just on guitar, but also vocals, as he handles both guttural death grunts and harsh high register rasps in equal measure.
I’m not disappointed a bit in The Devils. Already it reveals some new secrets. In the end, BELPHEGOR is nothing but BELPHEGOR and that’s all there is to it.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality
4 / 6