"Pestapokalypse VI"

(Nuclear Blast)

01. Belphegor - Hell's Ambassador
02. Seyn Todt in Schwartz
03. Angel of Retribution
04. Chants for the Devis 1533
05. Pest Teufel Apokalypse
06. Ancient Enemy
07. Bluhtsturm Erotika
08. Sanctus Perversum
09. Pesthaus/Miasma Epilog

RATING: 8/10

This one's a monster, folks. And really now, isn't it about time that you discovered Austria's most incendiary black/death metal act? The group has been on a roll ever since the unbridled Christ-crush of 2003's "Lucifer Incestus" (some would say, and not inaccurately, that it started way before that). The band took a sizeable step forward with 2004's "Goatreich – Fleshcult", allowing a few more songs to breathe by backing off the constant blasting and adding just a little more in the way of arrangement dynamics. Now making the leap from Napalm Records, which always was a strange fit, to Nuclear Blast, BELPHEGOR has an opportunity to spread its plague much further with yet another quality scorcher called "Pestapokalypse VI".

Similar in many respects to what was heard on "Goatreich - Fleshcult", the new long-player continues to rely on an up-tempo ripping approach, yet breaks things up with a few slower songs, "Angel of Retribution" and "Bluhtsturm Erotika". The latter switches tempos effectively and the former is a misery march of the highest order. Further, "Bluhtsturm Erotika" includes German verses taken from the works of Marquis de Sade and Goethe. The remaining tracks are pure BELPHEGOR Armageddon. Whether it is the NILE-esque guitars on opening ripper "Belphegor – Hell's Ambassador" (featuring a great introductory build), the pace changing "Chants for the Devil 1533" (which does include a kind of chanted chorus), or the face-melting fury of "Pest Teufel Apokalypse", the end result is a wholly satisfying experience. And man, the boys sure know how peel paint with those guitars! The harmonies sound fantastic.

Speaking of guitars, Andy Classen's expert production fleshes out those terrific black metal harmonies that sound even better this time around. As a matter of fact, the weeping harmonies that close out "Sanctus Perversum" are as gripping as anything heard on the album. The tune is another that departs from English-sung lyrics, this time utilizing some Latin passages.

So is "Pestapokalypse VI" a better album than "Goatreich Fleshcult?" I'm not sure yet, but both deserve your attention. Of course, I've always had a soft spot for "Lucifer Incestus". Regardless, BELPHEGOR is a band that has stuck to its guns and never compromised. That Nuclear Blast recognized the potential in this act says a lot. If you were a fan before the release of "Pestapokalypse VI", then there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't grab this one too.


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