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Sunday Old School: Belphegor

As we’ve mentioned a few times over the past months, this year Sunday Old School is aiming to cover a lot more countries in our articles. Some of the nations we’ve taken a first look at have given the world of metal some highly controversial names, both literately (such as Rotting Christ from Greece) and in terms of theatrics (such as Poland’s, Behemoth.) This week sees the latter trend continue, as Sunday Old School examines a band from Austria for the first time. A blood drenched, blasphemous, outrageous group that goes by the name of, Belphegor.

The group was formed under the moniker Betrayer in Salzburg in 1991 by guitarist, Helmuth and Sigurd, vocalist Maxx and a drummer named Chris. Whilst using this name, they recorded two demos, "Kruzifixion" and "Unborn Blood," before changing their alias to Belphegor, named after a demon who was supposedly responsible for discoveries and, according to the Dictionnaire Infernal, Hell’s ambassador to France (because if anywhere is going to have an embassy for Hell, it’s France.) They would release only one demo with Maxx after changing their name in the guise of 1993’s, "Bloodbath in Paradise." After Maxx’s departure, Helmuth assumed vocal duties and the group recorded another demo, "Obscure and Deep" through Perverted Taste Records in 1994, before their first official album, "The Last Supper" was released in January 1995 via Lethal Records.

"The Last Supper" was succeeded two years later by the sophomore album, "Blutsabbath," which was followed by an eighteen date tour of Europe with Behemoth and Norwegian act, Ancient. Their profile continued to increase after re-releasing, "The Last Supper" in 1999 before a third album, "Necrodaemon Terrorsathan" was unleashed in 2000. The record was notable for calling out then Pope, John Paul II in the song, "Cremation of Holiness" and was to be their last output for the label, Last Episode, who the group would later denounce.

After shifting their focus to live performances, appearing at a number of European festivals and self-releasing the live album, "Infernal Live Orgasm," they signed with Napalm Records. They recorded and released their fourth album, "Lucifer Incestus" in 2003, which featured more obscene titles such as, "Demonic Staccato Erection" and "Fukk the Blood of Christ" and was promoted with another European tour, before another album, "Goatreich – Fleshcult" was released in 2005. The touring for this album helped spread their name even further, particularly when they took part in the X-Mass festival with grindcore icons, Napalm Death and Polish death metal veterans, Vader. Belphegor did embark on a headlining tour of their own to promote the album, but decided that Napalm weren’t supporting them enough and once again parted ways with a record company in bitter circumstances.

The band then joined the ranks of Nuclear Blast Records in 2005 and joined forces with former Holy Moses guitarist, Andy Classen, who produced their first full length album. The result was 2006’s, "Pestapokalypse VI," which spawned two music videos for "Bluhtsturm Erotika" and "Belphegor – Hell’s Ambassador," and once again led to some high profile gigs, including teaming up with Danzig for their Blackest of the Black tour in 2006, as well as another tour of North America with fellow brutal metallers, Krisiun and Unleashed, before teaming up with the latter once again for a European tour and heading to South America for a co-headlining tour with Gorgoroth.

Shortly after the new year began, Sigurd decided to leave the band after undergoing eye surgery, leaving Helmuth as the sole remaining founder in the group. A seventh album, "Bondage Goat Zombie" was released in April 2008 to mostly positive response and on a number of songs, Belphegor explored the writings of the Marquis de Sade, a French philosopher who was infamous for his erotic writings which were deemed highly offensive by the Catholic church. Some editions of the album came with a bonus DVD which featured behind the scenes footage as well as a "freak section." Once again, the group hit the road with such names as Nile in Europe and Amon Amarth in North America.

Only a year later, Belphegor released their eighth album, "Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn," once again to a generally positive reaction. They promoted the record by taking part in a North American tour with thrash metal legends Kreator and Exodus, in a package tour which also featured Warbringer and Epicurean. They returned to North America twice more afterwards, once as part of the Heathenfest tour with Alestorm and Eluveitie amongst others, then with Brazilian veterans, Sepultura, which was also in support of their ninth album, "Blood Magick Necromance."

Following a South American tour, the future of the band was put in serious doubt when Helmuth was taken to hospital with typhoid fever, undergoing a very serious operation as a result. Thankfully, Helmuth seems to have made a full recovery and Belphegor will once again be free to destroy eardrums and offend the faint hearted, something they will be doing this very week with the release of their tenth full length album, "Conjuring the Dead" The album received a score of 4/5 on this very website and it seems that Belphegor show no signs of stopping their blood stained trail of destruction. Long may it continue

Belphegor - "Diabolical Possession"

Belphegor - "Vomit Upon the Cross"

Belphegor - "Lucifer Incestus"

Belphegor - "Hell's Ambassador"

Belphegor - "Bondage Goat Zombie"

Belphegor - "Der Geistertreiber"

Belphegor - "In Blood - Devour This Sanctity"

Belphegor - "Conjuring the Dead"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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