Belphegor's Helmuth Discusses Health Problems With Metal Sucks
Belphegor is currently working with Erik Rutan on a new album and follow-up to "Blood Magick Necromance" (reviewed here). As work on the album progresses, vocalist Helmuth recently conducted an interview with Metal Sucks to discuss his recent health issues. Excerpts from the interview follow.
Metal Sucks: How are you feeling?
Helmuth: Way better than a few months ago. I am recovering, slowly. It’s getting better each month.
Metal Sucks: I know you had to cancel some tour dates due to a lung infection back in the fall but what was the extent of your illness? What were you struggling with?
Helmuth: I had to cancel all shows and tours for the last nine months. It wasn’t a winning situation. Seriously, I never expected anything like this. Who does? It’s like a punch in the face. I got a typhus infection in Brazil. I guess it was from drinking water from the sink. What are you going to do when you wake up in the morning after hard drinking and have a raging hangover? Yes, I know, not very smart in the end. I was not vaccinated against typhus. The virus killed my lungs. As we toured Brazil, I didn’t know what was going on. I thought day by day it would get better. On the contrary, it got worse. Breathing was difficult. The last shows were tough, full of pain, vomiting and fever. But we played the last two shows with Morbid Angel. Hey, you can’t say “no, we’re cancelling.”
After eight shows in Brazil, we flew to Venezuela. I couldn’t lift my guitar case anymore, so that was the first time that I went to the hospital. I couldn’t play the show but Columbia was on the plan. I still thought, it will get better… sick, man. I was totally done, couldn’t do the last three shows in Columbia; sorry to all the people involved. I am a fighter, I never cancel shows as long as I can stand on my damn feet, but it was over. It was four days of pain and fever, lying in the bed in Bogota, followed by two damn international flights back to Austria. When we arrived I was totally done; it wasn’t possible to lift my hand luggage.
They put me in intensive care for ten days, to prepare for an operation. There was a lot of water in the heart, liver and legs – everywhere. I looked like a sumo wrestler. Besides my lungs, there was also heart damage. So I had an open heart and chest operation. I could fill a book, man.
Metal Sucks: How did you recover? Were you ever close to death?
Helmuth: Man, I fought five weeks to get my life back. Five weeks in the hospital – three times in intensive care, then six weeks rehab – step by step, I tried to get my life back. I have rock hard will and discipline, otherwise I wouldn’t be here anymore.
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