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Belphegor - "Totenritual" (CD)

Belphegor - "Totenritual" CD cover image

"Totenritual" track listing:

1. Baphomet
2. The Devil’s Son
3. Swinefever - Regent of Pigs
4. Apophis - Black Dragon
5. Totenkult - Exegesis of Deterioration
6. Totenbeschwörer
7. Spell of Reflection
8. Embracing a Star
9. Totenritual

Reviewed by on September 28, 2017

"After my first listen of 'Totenritual' I asked myself if Belphegor has ever put anything out that’s been subpar. I think not..."

After my first listen of “Totenritual” I asked myself if Belphegor has ever put anything out that’s been subpar. I think not... Since 1991, this Austrian extreme metal band has been as consistent as fire and brimstone in hell. With 11 full-length albums under the band's belt, the formula obviously still works.

Belphegor is still underrated as far as extreme metal acts are concerned. I can’t understand why since the production is always crisp and the songwriting rarely falls into rehashed riff mode. Belphegor doesn’t just throw songs together, the group composes them… and these compositions are searing.

“Totenritual,” as with most of Belphegor’s releases, is laced with satanic and necromancy subject matter, but if you’re a Belphegor fan, that’s what you love about them. The first track on the album, “Baphomet," is the equivalent of a torrent of demons escaping from the depths of hell. From there, the album just gets more insidious. My favorite track without hesitation is “Apophis – Black Dragon.” This is what pure evil sounds like. The interplay of the single note guitar runs along with that constant single note bass line is what I’ll call a baphmogasm. Yes, that’s not a word, but you read it here first.

Belphegor has created a gem that will surely stand out in 2017’s rash of mediocre extreme metal albums. If it doesn’t make the majority of 2017’s top 10 album lists, I would be shocked.

Belphegor is currently on tour in Europe and will be heading over to the U.S. after that. If you’ve never seen them live, make a point to catch them.

Highs: “Totenritual” is the album you were expecting that being Belphegor’s eleventh full-length offering. They just keep getting better with every new release.

Lows: “Totenritual” is just a tad too “produced” sounding, thus barely denying them a perfect score from this reviewer.

Bottom line: With only a few months left in the year, “Totenritual” is definitely one of my favorite albums of 2017.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)