And, now, once more Belphegor are spreading their dark symphonies in the shape of 'Conjuring The Dead', their latest release in a long line of black metal albums.
Full on as always, this is how the label's press release describes it: "The ten new compositions unleash a state of brutality yet unknown to mankind. Soundscapes of a melodic monstrosity, forceful & fierce yet fulfilled with razor sharp precision. Straight in-your-face onslaughts, devastating string-slaughter, blazing machine gun drums and the sickest vo-kills [sic]."
Does it live up to the hype? Can it live up to hype that has so much hyperbole?
On one level it does, and on another it is more of the same from Belphegor with slightly more mature musicianship. And, that's not necessarily a bad thing...
Take for example the track 'Lucifer, Take her'. A combination of brooding riffs, slow delicate sections and full-tilt speed have all the ingredients one would expect from Belphegor.
But the danger always is that it can be easy to descend into parody of oneself. The same 'evil vo-kills' and the same malevolence. However, Helmuth and Serpenth escape this by excelling within the tight constraints of their blueprint.
Aided by session drummer, Marthyn and guitarist Schoft they have produced a deeper range of variety within the band dynamic.
One must also take into consider that Helmuth was near to death in 2011 with a typhus infection. To come back in 2014 with such a powerful album is a testament to the force of will within the band.
That force of will is evident from the start with 'Gasmask Terror' unfurling a viciousness and straight punch into the face. Salzburg - from which Belphegor originate - must have something in the air to piss these guys off.
The lyrical themes are the usual blasphemy, delivered with enough malevolence to avoid it sounding ridiculous.
Glenn Benton (Deicide) and Attila Csihar (Mayhem) join in the fun and games on 'Legion of Destruction' to keep the hate quotient at a high level.
From 'Gasmask Terror' to closer 'Pactum in Aeternum' Belphegor have delivered an extremely enjoyable dose of blackened death metal, full of musical punch, and enough lyrical vileness to bring a smile...if you know what we mean! Yes, it mostly lives up to the hype.
Review by Jonny
Conjuring the Dead is out now on Nuclear Blast
Gasmask Terror Video...to give you as taste....