Horror of Horrors: Belphegor
Welcome back ladies and goats to another foray into the evil wilderness that is the Horror of Horrors! Have you all been waiting patiently? Yes I bet you have. This week, I am going to delve deep into the territory of the sweet, sweet sounds of brutality and devastation that is black metal. You all know you love it, and you love that I bring it to you. This entry is going to be a lot of fun for me, because this is hands down one my favorite bands, mainly because they caught be by surprise and melted my face into a soupy disaster. From the depths of Salzburg, Austria, comes a being born of pure hate and fire. A demon cloaked in smoke and ash, feasting upon your remains and drinking the blood of your ancestors. In this dark hour , we are all sworn to the power that is Belphegor!
It was a few years ago, and I was on my way to Worcester, MA for a sick show headlined by Amon Amarth (my fellow Viking brethren and forefathers) .I was super excited. Amon Amarth is in my top 3 favorite bands of all time, and I had been waiting patiently to see them again since I caught them in a blizzard where only true Vikings dared to trek. It was amazing. As I parked my car and began walking up to the doors of the Palladium (one of my favorite venues) my friend and I witnessed something we were privy to, but never donned ourselves: corpse paint. A kid was sitting on the front of the stairs, adored in black and face painted dead, and I immediately thought that he had showed up to the wrong show. Normally you see corpse paint at black metal shows, so being at a more battle metal style show was a bit odd, but not totally strange. I walked into the venue and thought nothing more of it. I was here for my Vikings, and I was not willing to wait any longer. I plowed right by the bar and got to my favorite spot there; a low balcony with a railing so I can have something to hold onto when the shredding began. I waited patiently for what seemed like forever….and then the lights went out….Screams could be heard from all over the venue (not bad ones, more like cheers) as the opening band made its way to the stage. Clad in bondage gear and dripping so much fucking blood, my eyes and senses were assaulted with something I had never seen before. I had never seen a black metal band up close before, and I was blown away by the sheer amount of malevolence they were exuding. Spikes, blood, fire and smoke, all were swirling around in a miasma of violence and vileness, and before a chord was struck, I had already offered my allegiance to these men of the black. Belphegor was their name, and I finally knew why that motherfucker was wearing his corpse paint to this show.
Belphegor, as earlier said, is a black metal band hailing from Austria. Consisting of a revolving door of musicians, but keeping the center piece of Helmuth, who shreds for Satan and growls for the demons of the dark, have been releasing music since 1993, under their original name of Betrayer. They took the name Belphegor, who is a demon and one of the principal rulers of hell, and have never looked back since then. I was in complete awe of them when I first witnessed them, and the first song I had ever heard them play, was titled Bondage Goat Zombie, which was sung with a fucking S+M mask on Helmuth’s head. Whips, chains, and all manner of macabre instruments littered the stage as they performed, and it was so amazingly done that I was so impressed. I didn’t know what to do at that point. It’s a rare day when an opener actually grabs my attention so well, and actually makes me almost forget about the closer (don’t worry, I didn’t ) and has me fully involved. It was awesome, and I was in love with black metal from that point on. Now it’s not to say that I only listen to black metal now, I still love all kinds of music, but black metal has formed a place in my blacked heart as something to be loved.
The set closed, and I immediately went with my buddy over to the merch counter, and I picked what would become one of my favorite hoodies. A Belphegor hoodie depicting the Salem witch trials with the latin words “I am Satan” on the back. I rock it almost every day in the winter, and I don’t fucking care if people see me in it multiple times. I picked up almost all of their albums, the ones I could find in stores at least, and proceeded to melt my fucking face into a bloodbath whenever I was in the car or going for a walk. Bondage Goat Zombie was the first I listened to, and the title track is so goddamn brutal. Stigma Diabolicum is something my buddy and I will bust into whenever we are just hanging out, and people will look at us like we are crazy. Most of our friends know our love of metal, and tolerate it. Fred “Piano Wire” and myself are known amongst our core group as the ones born of fire and steel, and we would not have it any other way. After getting my fill of Bondage Goat Zombie, I picked up some of their older albums, including Lucifer Incestus , Necrodaemon Terrorsathan, and made it to the most recent release of Walpurgis Rites, which is so fucking brutal. The second track on that album has one of the most evil riffs I have ever heard, and I pray for Satan to carry me away on leathery bat wings whenever I listen to it. Sorry mom, you know this already . Now the funny part is, most people assume that I worship Satan or the black arts because I listen to music like this, but trust me, it is not the case. My gods are Norse, and forever will they be. I do not bathe in the blood of goats and virgins, although I hear it will help to keep your youth, just ask the bloody baroness.
I know most people do not enjoy metal the way that I do. A lot of people will call bands such as Disturbed and Godsmack metal, and to be honest, it’s fucking wrong. I have no problem with people listening to that stuff, but it is not metal. That is radio rock, and essentially butt rock. It’s stuff you can play on the radio and not get in trouble. Belphegor will never be on your local radio station. Ever. And I would not have it any other way. I want them to make money and be successful, I do, but not at the cost of becoming softer or more radio friendly. I have absolutely no doubt they will never go down that path, and that makes me happy enough to shoot blood out of my eyes. Bands like this have a very specific market, and that market is not the general public. I cannot begin to tell you how many people ask me how I can even listen to stuff like this, to which I respond, it is not easy. Much like most things, you have to sort through a whole bunch of bullshit to get to the good bits. For every good metal band, there are around 5-6 bad ones. Copy cats, softer sounders, clean vocalists, and other things can easily make for a bad album ( I’m looking at you The Faceless, please no more clean vocals. Planetary Duality and your first album were near masterpieces, and you guys went in the wrong direction with Autotheist).
I highly recommend you guys get a chance to go out and check this band out. They are so orgasmically brutal and shred for Satan in such a fashion that you are almost compelled to forsake your previous life and pledge it to the lord below. Trust me though, listen to them, but make that decision on your own. You will live this band, and if not at first, stick with it a bit and it will grow on you. Now, if you will excuse me, there is a demon headed goat that is in need of fresh meat, and I know exactly the place to find it. And to the kid in corpse paint, if you read this, you were the most metal kid at that show that day. Good on ya dude.
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