BELPHEGOR
"Bondage Goat Zombie"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Bondage Goat Zombie
02. Stigma Diabolicum
03. Armageddon's Raid
04. Justine: Soaked In Blood
05. Sexdictator Lucifer
06. Shred For Sathan
07. Chronicles Of Crime
08. The Sukkubus Lustrate
09. Der Rutenmarsch

RATING: 8/10

Since the release of the beloved "Lucifer Incestus" in 2003 BELPHEGOR's stock has risen across the globe, signing to Nuclear Blast, becoming a known quantity with more than just the cave dwellers, and spending some quality time with American audiences. The Austrian blasphemers demonstrated progression on "Goatreich-Fleshcult" and "Pestapocalypse VI", yet retained the blasting mayhem for which they are known, as well as the overt aggression and Satanic obsession that makes their albums so endearing. That is also what makes "Bondage Goat Zombie" such a nefariously fun filled ride. While some may see the cover art and over the top lyrical fare of songs like "Shred for Sathan" as a tad on the ridiculous side, fans and those with a sense of metal spirit realize that BELPHEGOR keeps getting it right. With a concept inspired by Marquise De Sade and lyrics again sung in English, German, and Latin, "Bondage Goat Zombie" works on several levels.

The fact is that BELPHEGOR have become pretty darn good songwriters. This is some of the better black/death metal that you'll hear today. "Bondage Goat Zombie" offers a smart mix of skin flaying scorchers and slower paced grinders, while injecting both personality and compositional coloration. Songs like the "Stigma Diabolicum", "Armageddon's Raid", and the title track slash and burn with the best of them, yet melody is far from an afterthought these days, and that includes the band's adeptness at writing great minor-note guitar harmonies. Don't be mistaken though, this is not the stuff of adult contemporary radio. The guitars cut deep and the drumming, even when not blasting, is fierce.

The band continues its fascination with the insatiable, S&M-driven sexual practices of the dark lord with "Sexdictator Lucifer", a song that slithers across the ground like a snake and works well as a kind of break between the album's two "halves." Some obligatory moans of passion from the fairer sex of course make their way into the cut. After the no-nonsense rip of "Shred for Sathan" the group hits with the mid-paced and well-written "Chronicles of Crime", one that is notable for some rather NILE-esque harmonies. Things get quite spooky with the disc's last two tracks, "The Sukkubus Lustrate" and "Der Rutenmarsch", which is more of a two-part epic than two separate tracks. The former is a bone chilling and somber, slow tempo number that features a diabolical vocal changeup that may very well have you sleeping with the light on. Bleeding into "Der Rutenmarsch", the dread and mournfulness continue with choral effects and a closing segment that is as creepy as anything BELPHEGOR has ever recorded.

BELPHEGOR can rest easy knowing that they've created another glorious ode to the horned guy that lives down south, not that they ever gave a shit about your thoughts anyway. Metal to the bone and black as night, "Bondage Goat Zombie" does not disappoint.

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