Friday, 5 September 2014

Belphegor - The Last Supper

BELPHEGOR - The Last Supper (LAST EPISODE - CD 1999)
Unbelievable how quickly the time passed away... Almost two decades ago I’ve read an interview with – then unknown – Austrian band called Belphegor in Metal Side Mag. Back then, I think it was in 1995, I never heard of them before, but soon later I managed to get their second and third albums… and now so many years later Belphegor is a well know extreme death / black metal beast, with several better or worse, but all solid albums, signed to a major record label, with performances on many tours and big festivals… Damn, who would think that it will all turn out this way? I can’t call myself the biggest Belphegor maniac, although I do like this band, I have most of their albums and most of them are truly good. But to be honest, my favourites from their discography are the albums from the pre-Nuclear Blast era… such as this early piece of blasphemous noise “The Last Supper” originally released in 1995 by Lethal Records. Sadly I never had a chance to get a first press CD, but at least I have the 1999 Last Episode re-issue which is cool, because it has some bonus tracks. What I don’t like about this version is that it doesn’t have the original artwork, which was so bloody cool… but well, at least it contains the classic “Obscure and Deep” EP plus some more songs (mainly covers). For them, it is worth to have this version as well.
I am really fascinated that already on the first album Belphegor had their own, characteristic style. From the very first notes you can really hear it is Belphegor, with their specific riffing, relentless, throat-cutting guitar work, mostly fast tempos, utter violence and aggression and finally with the blasphemous lyrics and possessed vocals of Helmuth! Arrghh, and I must not forget about the diabolic atmosphere of their music! Yes, this is totally satanic, mad, possessed and sacrilegious metal and Belphegor always creates this blood freezing, eerie an evil atmosphere, which I love totally. It’s not a common black / death metal, but as I said Belphegor is very characteristic, with these powerful, razor sharp and aggressive riffs, very fast pace, but also with some slower, more catchy songs, where there’s always a memorable chorus part… Of course some people say that Belphegor sometimes eats its own tail and repeats the same patterns too often, some songs are copies of some other… well, I can see what these opinions are based on, but it doesn’t change the fact that this music is still damn good. And “The Last Supper” belongs to the best albums of Belphegor I suppose, even if the sound here is the most vicious and harsh and that the band’s best songs and riffs are yet to come on the future albums. But damn, listen to such tracks as “Impalement Without Mercy”, “March of the Dead”, “The Last Supper” or “D.I.E. (Drowned in Excrements)” – aren’t they fantastic? OK, one or two other songs are maybe not quite as good, but as overall I think that this is very good album indeed.
I mentioned that Last Episode version of “The Last Supper” contains some bonus tracks… and well, the first one is “Krucifixion” cover of pre-Belphegor band called Betrayer. And it is quite raw, kind of archaic sounding pure death metal, nothing majorly interesting, far from the vicious and blasphemous style of Belphegor. The song is mediocre, the production is also not the best… so I don’t like it too much. Then there’s the excellent “Obscure and Deep” EP, which is awesome I think. Finally the Black Sabbath cover is something I would rather forget, as it sounds crap in my opinion, but that Sodom cover of “Outbreak of Evil” is not so bad at all. All in all I think that “The Last Supper” is a very good album, if you like harsh and fast, blasphemous death / black metal then you know Belphegor and I don’t have to recommend it anymore.
Standout tracks: “Impalement Without Mercy”, “March of the Dead”, “The Last Supper”

Final rate: 75/100

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