After the sensational masterpiece “Lucifer Infestus”, the flagship BELPHEGOR, that is hailing from the Alps and that has become known worldwide for its blasphemic and extreme Death/Black Metal, sends the follow-up in form of “Goatreich – Fleshcult” into the unholy race for the crown of thorns soiled by Christian blood. Believers from all countries hide yourselves, for BELPHEGOR draw their fatal circles again and make heads roll in line without even batting an eyelid. That said, not very self-critical hymns of praise referring to themselves such as “the most extreme band ever of the Death/Black Metal scene” do not sound exaggerated at all.
While there was an obvious Black Metal shadow above the songs on „Lucifer Infestus“, you can talk more and more about an almost pure Death Metal record with this neckbreaker. The gas pedal is still hammered into the floor relentlessly until it reaches the asphalt below sparking, yet many passages and songs are reminiscent of the exalted class of killer bands such as MORBID ANGEL. Especially in this context “Sepulture The Hypocrisy”, which is untypical of BELPHEGOR because it is almost Doom/Death metallic, could serve as a prime example. This bone-dry, viciously crawling and extremely heavy steamroller could quite have been on “Blessed Are The Sick” and shows a brandnew side of this brutal formation from Salzburg. I guess few of you would have expected this well-done surprise and thus especially this song may be labelled THE anthem on “Goatreich – Fleshcult”.
"The Cruzifixus Anus Dei“, "Bleeding Salvation“ or the title track offer High Speed Metal as usual in an unique and awesome technical make. Great melodies, gifted solos, lively drumming, hateful howling and diabolical bass lines as on the insane “Fernicationum Er Immundus Diabolus” or the equally cold-blooded, for razor-sharp “Swarm Of Rats” demonstrate how thoughtfully and superior BELPHEGOR fight for the throne of the black mortar of death business and will probably be victorious. Once again all these are pillars of this murderously forceful killer troop that possesses the sense of endowing abnormally fast songs with technical artfulness, so that uncontrollable chaos never breaks out. BELPHEGOR are full professionals and even the departure of the exceptional drummer Torturer (MOR DAGOR) was taken as if it was the easiest task to find an equally good replacement within a short time. Anyway, once again a German occupied the vacant place behind the drum kit and seemingly they made another lucky choice in Nefastus and were once again successful at searching beyond the Austrian borders.
It remains an untenable rumour that the tempo has decreased in some songs due to his entry, as even songs that were slowed down tempo-wise such as “Kings Shall Be Kings” shine especially through the renunciation to rabid blasting and spread immense pressure until your head threatens to burst. However, when it gets neckbreakingly fast as in the following “The Crown Massacre”, the new man is ready and not second to any of his fellows in terms of speed rush. In “Goatreich – Fleshcult” BELPHEGOR made the most varied album of their long career to date and once more it makes the band become unpredictable for the numerous competitors. So does the closing epic “Festum Asinorum/Chapt. 2”, which devastates everything through insane speed attacks, evokes comparisons to MAYHEM’s “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, conjures up a very own morbid atmosphere through the almost scary-seeming acoustic parts and makes this suspicion disappear into insignificance again.
BELPHEGOR are not comparable but stand as a massive rock in the sea, which peaks out as a sign of quality, brutality and uncompromisingness and turns this band into a forerunner of one of the most brutish musical styles within Heavy Metal. “Goatreich – Fleshcult” is perfectly rounded off artistically by a first-class artwork and a sound that is perfect in every regard and that thunders through the speakers differentiatedly and powerfully even at an exaggerated volume. For all die hard fans of BELPHEGOR I will mention that the first edition of the new milestone will once again be released in a DigiPak including a bonus track, a vinyl edition complete with folder cover should follow in April of 2005. Thanks BELPHEGOR and Napalm Records for this first-class infernal performance. (Online February 23, 2005)