By Theron Moore

Demonic.  Satanic.  Pure defilement.  That’s the best way to describe Belphegor’s “Totenritual,” nine tracks of pure black/evil/death, heavy as the seventh level of Hell and twice as hot.  Let’s not forget that this is the very band that brought us “Bondage Goat Zombie,” one of the greatest album titles of all time.  In the top 10 for sure.  “Totenritual” is nine tracks of raging death metal hellfytre. Not a bad song in the bunch.  Kinda makes you wonder what it’s like to party with these fellas with song titles like “Baphomet,” “The Devil’s Son,” and “Swine Fever – Regent of Pigs.”  Could be an intense gathering, to say the least.  A Disney movie anyone?  No?

“Baphomet” is the opening track that sets the tone for the record.  Great tune to open with, by the way.  Heavy as all get out.  Belphegor never disappoint with their records.  They have a tight and firm understanding of what death metal is and how it should sound.  “Totenritual” exemplifies this.  If Hell has an unholy choir that plays while souls are tortured, Belphegor is it.  When they play, darkness runs for light.  And that’s this record in a nutshell.  11 records into their career and Belphegor just keep progressing in degrees of pure brutality.  I used to think Morbid Angel and Deicide were the heaviest, most aggressive death metal bands on the planet.  One listen to “Totenritual” will dispel that notion.  The aforementioned bands at their best were good.  Here, Belphegor are great.  

If there was ever any hint of mercy or melody with any of their previous releases, especially their last one, 2014’s “Conjuring the Dead,” gone is that tumor with this record.  “Totenritual” instead, is a ritualistic beating captured on tape.  Lots of heavy guitar work, reanimated vocals, and enough double bass to split a mountain in two.  Belphegor’s sound on “Totenritual” is very stripped down and bleak, devoid of hope and light.  It’s almost as if the band is examining their souls and truly realizing how dark and dismal they really are, reaching deep inside that void and pulling out the heart of darkness itself and then translating that to music.
And that dear friends, is the gist of this record.  And as I said before, heavy as fuck, brutal and unflinching.  Belphegor taps into a degree of aggression and unholy violence I don’t think they’ve ever played with before.  And if I haven’t scared you away yet, that’s your clue to get this record.  Immediately.  Fuck are you waiting for, do it now!