One of my favorites in extreme metal the legendary Belphegor dropped their latest studio album “The Devils” yesterday July 29th. Like a fine wine they have aged gracefully this being their 12th release and their newer releases from the last decade or so still hold up well. The Austrian blackened death metal group has again outdone themselves in a more interestingly creative outlet, with some really well placed curveballs. Sure, I miss the speed from “Walpurgis Rites”, “Stigma Diabolicum”, and other quicker tracks from said newer albums. That said, they slowed down and made even groovier songs that are also more anthemic and chant based that worked out well (unlike Behemoth). Don’t go too crazy there’s still plenty of tremelo picking, blasts and double bass it’s not all slower trust me. BUT everyone ages and I think they found a great middle ground as they got older, and liked this change of pace. No, they didn’t bastardize their fans it still has their signature sound.
Helmuth’s voice has gotten even higher and uses the high end of his growls and shrieks more often than he normally does, and honestly fits the music pretty well. It’s tough to not fanboy over one of your favorites but I honestly think they still have plenty of tricks up their sleeve, and they are not done yet that’s for sure. There’s some stellar melodic guitar solos on this album and includes some of his best to date I think. The rhythms are great as expected with a stellar job by David Diepold (Cognizance, Obscura and various other projects and features) on drums, and Serpenth has always held his own on bass and backing vocals.
For a band to release stellar albums later in their career is a feat in itself and I wouldn’t try to steer our followers wrong. I understand we all have different tastes and that’s cool, but man I can’t get over this. I listened to it all day at work yesterday, after work and this morning as well when I was out. Sometimes slowing it down creates more opportunity and that’s what the duo executed pretty well. There’s some added melody, especially in the anthemic single “Virtus Asinaria- Prayer” where the shrieks and chant compliment each other in a slower/groovier paced song than a blistering track.
Yes it’s easy to say it’s not groundbreaking or changing extreme metal, but for their generally quicker paced style it’s different in a good way. I definitely recommend “The Devils” to any fan of extreme metal younger or older and it still has black metal influence. Don’t sleep on this album and definitely give it a listen sooner than later, trust me.