Hailing from Austria, and bringing a visceral and relentless brand of Blackened Death Metal, Belphegor have been a considerable and notorious force within the Extreme Metal scene since the release of 1994’s Obscure And Deep EP. 2020 brings the twentieth anniversary of the band’s third album Necrodaemon Terrorsathan, now fully remastered and with a new, sinister re-recording of the title track. Whilst the original 2000 recording for Necrodaemon Terrorsathan is a blackened death metal bloodbath, fitting the mould of a more traditional sounding Black Metal production process. The 2020 remaster brings all the original vile, seething hellfire kicking and screaming into a new decade with all its original relentless rage.
From the very outset the album has been given a new lease of life. The very first second of the album’s introductory soundscape becomes a more intense listen with the addition of a woman pleading for the safety of God to a Black Sabbath-esque church bell and storm. Whilst the album retains a lot of its original raw and abrasive charm, the freshly applied modern production has brought out a lot of the subtle elements that were buried or just about audible on the original mix and master. Even so, this remaster is very befitting for an album of this compositional quality. The remaster has made the album more visceral and violent, clearing up all the noise underneath the original recording has allowed the riffs to come through better and hit that much harder. Whilst Belphegor, a band notorious for having a penchant for Satanism and blasphemy, which the album art and lyrics make abundantly clear. Even though the words haven’t changed, the vocals feel like they have a lot more punch and shock value as they have been brought out of the shadows the guitars cast on the original vocals.
Production comparisons aside, this album is still as bruising, brutal and destructive as it was twenty years ago. Crossing the fine lined boundaries of Black and Death Metal to create a two headed, venomous monster. Belphegor have packed Necrodaemon Terrorsathan, with the perfect blend of Death Metal guttural vocals, pinch harmonic laden riffs, and thunderous guitar chugs with the atmospheric, tremolo picking leads of Black Metal. Which is all underpinned by chaotic chordal rhythms hitting the listener’s ears at a frantic pace. This has become an integral part of their sound, giving fans a one way ticket to the depths of hell with each subsequent releases over the last twenty years. With each song interlinked with a torrid and terrifying soundscape built up of screams, chanting and war sound, this album is a full frontal assault on the senses. The intense atmosphere accompanied by the savage riffs paint a bleak picture of a desolate world tormented by the servants of Satan and the continual burn of hellfire.
Overall, this album is not something to be reckoned with, whilst it does aid in the indulgence of nostalgia it also a frightening reminder of how brutal this band can be with its music. Bringing the raw energy and chaos of the original, moulding it into something for a new, desolate age, Necrodaemon Terrorsathan, is an album that every Extreme Metal fan needs in their collection.