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Music Reviews

Belfegor

Belfegor

The Kingdom of Glacial Palaces

World War III

Black/war metal is so comforting at times. It’s this worldwide movement where bands from places as far flung as Poland, Finland, Brazil, and even our ol’ USA follow the same musical blueprint, foster similar obsessions, beliefs, and aesthetics. It’s a very white music, as well. And I don’t mean that in terms of casting racist aspersions, or in trying to get all sniffy about it. I think that European black metal, especially that out of the old Eastern Bloc n’ roll countries (of which Belfegor is one), is the logical sonic descendent of David Bowie’s Thin White Duke/Berlin Period; that is, a musical expression firmly rooted in the Old World that seeks its aural cues from immediate surroundings, rather than in the far-off blues and black music, from which most American rock is derived. Keith Richards admits it, and goes on to say that you can’t get any heavier than Muddy Waters. Well you can. And Belfegor is one of the groups that are. Belfegor deal in the classic, cold, and primitive style of black metal. Keep it simple, stupid, like Darkthrone, Marduk, and early Mayhem. There are gleaming moments of liquid nitrogen melody, and they hit you harder than the eternal onslaught of blast beats. Vocals are rooted firmly in the Fenriz/Attila camp, with a bit of the Jeff Walker gurgle. And despite getting all academic before, I have to say that I enjoy this record on a very subjective, just-cuz-it’s-heavy level. Great driving record.

WWIII, PO Box 4517, Downey, CA 90241

Categories
Music Reviews

Belfegor

Belfegor

The Kingdom of Glacial Palaces

WWIII

And the battles in the North continue today, this year’s entry being Poland’s Belfegor. Not to be confused with Austrian sado-BM pervs Belphegor, the three-piece Belfegor prove on their The Kingdom of Glacial Palaces debut full-length that they worship at the gates of early Immortal, scurrying through a flurry of single-note-picking riffs and a tasty rasp/retch akin to a young Ihsahn, all atop a quintessentially crusty Grieghallen-esque production. But such worship isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering how, um, immortal Abbath and crew have become their last two records. So, doing some crackpot math here, when you factor in the red-in-the-neck headbanging mid-tempos that quickly rear their ugly heads on “Diabolical (Demonic Desire)” and (more so) “Somewhere Beyond This Reality,” as well as the haunting pitch-bends and micro-tones on “Satanighthrone” that hint at masterful riffery to come, Belfegor could yet deliver an At the Heart of Winter years down the line. In the meantime, however, we’re left with a straight-up black metal record that’s short on originality but laced with inspired ideas and rendered admirably, altogether instilling that spirited stench the original early-’90s BM wave created. But, lads, where’s the corpsepaint?!

WWIII, PO Box 4517, Downey, CA 90241, http://www.wwIIImusic.com