“Bondage Goat Zombie” by Belphegor

Artist: Belphegor
Title: “Bondage Goat Zombie”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 4/15/2008
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

Though the band can celebrate being at this type of thing for over a decade now it seems that they have chosen to continue to press on and invigorate the Blackened Death Metal genre as opposed to sitting back to muse on that which they had previously unleashed upon the world. That’s an interesting fact when one considers the band is named after a demon of discovery and genius invention. This demon is also associated with getting rich quick through this stuff and while I cannot attest to bands of this type becoming rich all that easily, I can definitely say that groups like Belphegor have certainly been ingenious in their manner of delivery and execution when it comes to this level of Black Metal. “Bondage Goat Zombie” is the bands seventh album and their second for Nuclear Blast Records. Their association with the label has been an exciting one and kept the band on tour almost constantly after the release of “Pestapokalypse VI”. With this album the stateside fan base who had been clamoring for them finally got a chance to see them in person on tours such as the “Blackest of the Black” with Glen Danzig, “Unleashed World Tour” and “Lucifer over America” with Rotting Christ and Immolation. On each of these appearances it was very clear that Belphegor was not a band to be taken as a mere opener but something far more intense and powerful to be viewed with awe and Metal respect. The new album continues the bands musical onslaught and will come as somewhat of a surprise for their longtime fans as there are quite a few upgrades in their sound as opposed to what they might have grown used to being executed in the past. Yes the throttling speed that you know and love from the band is still there and with their session drummer Toturer there are blast beats galore to enjoy at almost every turn on top of blistering riffs. The thing that might surprise the conventional fan is the level of musical proficiency that the guys have kicked into gear with this one. “Bondage Goat Zombie” is not your Father’s Blackened Death Metal but instead something heavier, slightly darker and features dramatic musical passages that guide you further down into the depths of Hell where the group oversees as ambassadors.

If you think I am lying, well then feel free to proceed unguided at your own demise as the opening title track draws you into its grasp and only gets tighter as “Stigma Diaboli” kicks into gear. Its imposing stuff and one could expect no less with a guitarist/singer like Helmuth. The hulking purveyor of Metal means business on every track and while he teases with a calm melodic intro for “Armageddon’s Raid”, he quickly decimates you for not paying more attention when the main riff begins. There are assorted deviations from the norm taken by the band who offer up a quasi-Gothic sounding monster piece with “Sexdictator Lucifer” and then the very quick “Shred For Sathan”, a song that possesses an almost Dark Funeral vibe to it. I also was rather fond of “Justine: Soaked In Blood” and as you can tell from this and the other titles the subject matter is of course just as sinister and diabolical as you would want it to be. This time around the lads are devoting the music not only to their Dark Lord but to the infamous Marquis De Sade as well and as you can imagine, the pairing finds the lyrical content not for the timid or faint of heart. Fortunately for us, those sorts don’t listen to Belphegor as it would probably kill them. There is a lot of stand out work delivered with “BGZ” and at the end of the day it is safe to assume that new fans will dig right into the meat of this release while the bands existing followers will find themselves newly impressed with their heroes. What I liked most about it was how it kicked their overall musical ability into the spotlight more than ever before and this stands as a strong fist in the face of those pundits who feel music in the Extreme Metal genre requires no real talent to do. I hate saying that a particular album could very well be the best that a band has done because such a statement can be limiting or false if they up the game on their next one but suffice it to say when you listen to “Bondage Goat Zombie”, you will not soon forget the demonic powers of Belphegor.

Track Listing:
1. Bondage Goat Zombie
2. Stigma Diaboli
3. Armageddon’s Raid
4. Justine: Soaked In Blood
5. Sexdictator Lucifer
6. Shred For Sathan
7. Chronicles Of Crime
8. The Sukkubus Lustrate
9. Der Rutenmarsch

Official Website: www.belphegor.at

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