Kings Shall Be Kings

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Austria’s goat porn fetish-izing death metal kings have been around since 1992. 2014 will see the release of the band’s tenth studio album, after a bit of a delay. And while the longevity and consistency of arguably Austria’s most famed metal export after Pungent Stench, has never been questioned, Belphegor never seemed to get mentioned amid death metal’s upper echelon acts. Even with a 10 album legacy, the band just seems to get ignored.

Even I personally never really heard the band until 2005s Goatreich-Fleshcult and then never went back until this years release, Conjuring the Dead almost 10 years later. And I picked a hell of a time to rediscover the band as Conjuring the Dead sees the band get nasty again after a few album that some deemed too safe, formulaic or melodic. It’s Belphegor at their bestial, blistering best with a ritualistic undercurrent and razor sharp blackened death assault that sees founder and front man Helmuth, focused, vitriolic and as vicious as ever. And if you read on, you will find out from the  horse’s (goat’s?) mouth why the band took so long  to release album number ten,  as well as other thoughts on things like the  the album artwork and tour plans….

In the past you have released albums almost annually maybe with a 2 year break between albums. it’s been almost 4 years since Blood Magic Necromance- why the longer period for this album? Did your bout with Typoid fever after a South American tour in 2011/2012 play a part?

Yes. I had to undergo a difficult operation which saved my life in the beginning of October the 4th, 2011. It took me almost a year to come back and be able to perform again. First months after the operation were tough, I couldn’t play music, that was frustrating. Also a lot of setbacks during the healing process didn’t make it any easier. RISE TO FALL AND FALL TO RISE, as one of our tracks from the last album BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE (2011) says. I’m doing good now. I’m pleased that I am allowed to play guitar, front my band again. It feels just great, and I am thankful for it.

I never worked so hard on another release. I always had in the back of my mind, and feared after my life-threatening illness, it could be the last BELPHEGOR album. So I didn’t want to fukk around, I wanted do things absolutely right.

Any musical aspirations come from that  possible close to death experience?

Absolutely, yes. My health issues and recovery did affect everything regarding the new album, the band, my life. That’s why the songs on CONJURING THE DEAD sound way more brutal, edgy and raw, we put a lot of the epic elements away, concentrated on the sick Death brutality with obscure melodies. Straight in your face. On the new record we celebrate Brutal Death Metal.

Belphegor has been a duo with you and Serpenth handling the guitars/bass/vocals for a while now- who did drums for the new album?

Marthyn Jovanovic, a talented guy from Austria. He is the same session drummer who played on BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE. When we begin a new album the masterplan is to develop, get even more intense. We’ve had the honor of working with many skilled musicians over the years.

How did Glen Benton and Attila Cishar get involved for the guest vocals on legions of destruction?

I had this vision for a long time. It was just to please my ego, hahahrrr. Truly, it’s really cool to me. I appreciate their vocal styles and what their work brought to the extreme Metal community.

I wanted to have those two guys, not just any dudes from some other bands. My plan was either them or fukk the plan.I think I first asked Attila about it in 2007, as we recorded BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE.With DEICIDE we did two big tours, one in the US one we conquered and devastated Europe. And Glen liked the idea, what was great to me. There was always this schedule

problem,they were on tour, or we were on tour, it was difficult, but finally it worked out. Both bands in the beginning were very important and inspiring to BELPHEGOR.

It’s an honor that they put their magcik on this track. Hails and thanks in their direction…

For three albums, Andy Classen was producer , then one album with Peter Tagtgren for Blood Magic Necromance and now, Erik Rutan for Conjuring the Dead- why the change in producers for the last two albums?

All three did an amazing job and it was an honor to work with them. We always change studios, formulas, keep everything interesting and the passion to create extreme sounds burning.

As I started creating the new sound collages I had a goal. To concentrate on more direct and aggressive Death Metal with our trademark Black Metal atmosphere and obscure melodies. I always wanted to have that US brutal sound for a BELPHEGOR Lp. That’s why we decided for Erik Rutan as the producer.

With Erik, the collaboration was just awesome, way better than I ever expected. My guitars never sounded so precise on a BELPHEGOR album. If you turn the volume all the way up, it’s as if the band is in the same room with you and blasting the shit outta hell.

So what did Erik Rutan bring to the table differently than Classen or Tagtgren-both respected producers in their own right?

I don’t like to compare albums nor producers/studios, man. Each time is different when we start a new project. Erik came up with many valuable ideas. For example, I played the classical guitar pickings first time with an acoustic guitar, that was an idea from Erik. He also motivated us to track ultra tight performances. He was on top of his game with the production. Everything sounds exactly as we wanted it to. It was the right decision to fly over to the US and track the album in St. Petersburg, Florida with Erik. CONJURING THE DEAD is one of our strongest releases.

For some reason, despite 10 albums and 20 years of existence, Belphegor never seems to get the acclaim and status of many death metal peers with less albums and time under their belt? why is that? Being from Austria? the provocative nature of the bands art and lyrics? the goat/bdsm stuff??

I don’t care that much. I can’t exactly say for what reasons it’s this way. Thing is, the Death/ Black Metal scene is full of mainstream sounds recently. The rebellious brutal approach, the fukk you all attitude, resist against everything outlook, it went to the dogs a long time ago. That’s how we see our role, to be different in this stale scene. What anyone else thinks won’t affect me. I just do my own thing, walk my own path and decide for myself with my own rules, in my own world. Some people like it and support us, which I really appreciate..a huge honor to me. Some hate it or are offended, all fine by me.

Some would say that Belphegor have got too melodic over the last couple of albums, but the new album seems to really bring back the ‘nasty’. What was the mindset going into album number 10 and the claims Belphegor has been ‘playing it safe’ since you switched to Nuclear Blast? 

We have not “played it safe”. We only write and play what we want to.I wanted to have a more Death Metal approach on this Lp, more edgy, raw and  of course brutal, all the typical BELPHEGOR trademarks. It was time to return to our roots.

Once again, I really don’t compare albums. Each time when we start a project we experiment within our style. We’ve changed studios, producers, always trying new things. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not, but all in all I am really pleased with our discography and especially with the new slasher. CONJURING THE DEAD was a tough raid, can’t wait til it gets released and I have my physical Album in my hands. That’s always a very special moment to me, then I get to see all the hard work, the sweat the sacrifice, that it all was worth it.

There’s a really heavy occult ritualistic sound on the now album. “Lucifer, Take her”, the title track the closing number “Pactum in Aeternum” are truly creepy as opposed to more overt sexual and perverse themes.

Thanks for liking our chaotic sounds. I was and still am impressed by the darker aspects of humanity. All that is different and non-conformist. I describe myself as atheist. I mean, there is a lot of obscurity and possession in BELPHEGOR, still is, always was, otherwise you couldn’t do that for 21 years.

The thing with art in my opinion is, only the excessive people did something that counted and lasted. You can’t sing about hell if you’ve never been there. Look at the history of art, it doesn’t matter–painter, composer, author, actor, whatever– the ones who were close to insanity, often in delirium, on drugs in kind of  “their own twilight zone”, were the best and still remain.

I use the philosophy about Sathan/ Lucifer – the Lightbearer in our lyrical content as a proud, exalted, majestic figure who resisted against all influences. A seducer, tempter. One to make his own decisions, walk his own path as a rebel, a mocker against the masses. Victorious!!

Who performed some of the screams and chants on those tracks- the female screams in particular sent shivers down my spine? Were they recorded or a sample from a movie?

No samples. That’s my girlfriend, Alexandra Van Weitus. She can scream like a demon….this girl has power, haharrrr.

You can watch the vocal trailer on youtube and also on the bonus DVD with the digipak edition that has +70 minutes of running time. There’s a lot on the DVD. We filmed a video for the title track high in the mountains of Austria. I’m proud of it, it’s our best video thus far. Ms. Makani Terror, a fetish/ tattoo model from Germania, took the role of the possessed Sukkubus. She’s quite an interesting woman and it was great to have here for the clip. It’s just awesome and I hope our supporters will enjoy it as we do. You also get to see studio/ recording making of’s, Metal traveling, our rehearsal cave bunker with Mr.Swinefever and 6 live tracks. Check it out!!

You guys are known for your album artwork. You used Seth again for the  artwork, as he did for Pestapokalypse, what made you switch from J Luetke from Blood Magic Necromance?  Are you looking for a particular image after the album is named or does the artwork come first?

Musick thrones above all, and it’s what remains in the end….in eternity. I also worked with Seth in 2005 for the PESTAPOKALYPSE VI art, released by the end of 2006. He did a great job.

The art on CONJURING THE DEAD is a conceptual depiction of the world of terror we actually do live in. It’s about how I see the human race nowadays, how we destroy life/nature, poison ourselves in a variety of ways for many reasons. We work hard to fukk up everything and dig our own graves and destroy the earth in the name of greed and might. On top our obscene – demonic –lyrical content. People that support BELPHEGOR find the lyric sheets in the booklet of the physical Cd. I encourage them to form their own interpretations, too.

Any tour plans to support Conjuring the Dead?

In Europe we concentrate on festivals for 2014-2015. We are doing approximately 20 open airs and indoor festivals this year. Norway, Sweden, Jakarta, France, Germania are already successfully conquered. There is a lot coming on the map like Japan, China, South Africa. Always great to march into new territories, big challenges. Mid-September through mid-October we’re doing our 9th North American tour. First time that we headline a full tour in the US, that will be great to return and conquer the states again. Direct support is from our Greek Metal brothers in ROTTING CHRIST. BEHEADED from Malta and SVART CROWN from France are also a part of the bill. At the end of the year, a  festival tour through South America.

Each BELPHEGOR concert is a surprise man, we are known for brutal stage rituals. Many great places offer outstanding crowds, especially those who do not often have brutal bands arriving on their fronts. 

 Last words?

Thank you for the space.  I also want to say thank you to the people who listen to our records, buy merch at the shows, and all who attend BELPHEGOR live rituals. An honor – this horror..


  1. Commented by: F.RINI

    Erik-I really enjoyed this read alot. Belphegor are one of my top bands, few bands can do blackened death metal as ferocious as these dudes. I would have liked to find out if their is any way their first 3 oop full lengths are ever going to be reissued on cd-I cannot see why that would not be the case. Good job, man! \m/

  2. Commented by: dave The Demon christ

    One of my top favorite bands amazing . Thank you Belphegor .
    Dave The Demon Christ , vokills founder Dying eyes of sloth
    New jersey USA
    Occult classic Death metal

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