Belphegor: Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn

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Belphegor: Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn
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Belphegor: Walpurgis Rites - Hexenwahn
Black Metal, Death Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
October 9th, 2009
Release length: 39:23
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There has been a lot of debate already about Belphegor‘s latest release, Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn, especially since their last album, Bondage Goat Zombie was not at all what the fans were expecting. On this release, the band, once again, takes a shot at changing up the music they play, by adding some melody to the mix with the guitars and sounding remarkably like Cradle Of Filth, around the time they started to evolve into their “Extreme” Gothic Metal roots. While this one may not be the intense, Satanic hell-ride that everyone was hoping for, is it safe to sit here and automatically denounce it because the band seems to be exploring the type of music they can pull off?

Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn may not be anywhere near a return to their earlier material, or even as dark and evil sounding, which will definitely leave the rabid, die hard fans from day one with a bitter taste in their mouth at first listen. However, this release is far from terrible. The music on this release is nicely varied, and every track on here has it’s own distinctive feel, whether it be from the intense blast beats, or the slower tracks/moments that show off some melodic guitar skill that adds some nice ambience to the music. The only issue here is that some of that guitar work really does sound very Cradle Of Filth inspired, and most obvious during the intense “Walpurgis Rites”, “Veneratio Diaboli – I Am Sin”, and “Destroyer Hekate”.

There are some tracks on this one that seem out of place and are rather boring. While the first four tracks on here are absolutely astounding, the climax of the album leaves a bit to be desired. “The Crosses Made Of Bone” just seems a bit out of place in comparison to the rest of the album, and “Der Geistertreiber” sounds even more off, almost as if it were originally meant as an industrial song due to how slow and rather uninspiring it sounds, with the only saving grace being the drums at the very end, and the siren effects thrown in the background of the chorus. After the enjoyable “Destroyer Hekate”, we are then subjected to “Enthralled Toxic Sabbath” does suit the album, but is a rather bland track and comes off as if it belongs on the Midian album by Cradle Of Filth, just not as strong, and what sounds like part 2 of that song with “Hexenwahn – Totenkult”.

While Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn is a step in the right direction for the band as far as music progression and experimentation go, some of the material on here is just downright dismal, and not in the good sense. The album has about five really intense and attention grabbing tracks, while four of them are either out of place from the album completely or will meet the fate brought by the skip button after your first run through of the album. To sit here and say this is a horrible album would be a total lie, but to say it is on par with their pre-Bondage Goat Zombie material would just be a laugh. Belphegor seem to be evolving, and this release does show some signs of promise.

01. Walpurgis Rites – 3:09
02. Veneratio Diaboli – I Am Sin – 7:02
03. Hail The New Flesh – 5:33
04. Reichswehr In Blood – 4:37
05. The Crosses Made Of Bone – 4:26
06. Der Geistertreiber – 3:42
07. Destroyer Hekate – 3:37
08. Enthralled Toxic Sabbath – 4:33
09. Hexenwahn – Totenkult – 2:44
Overall Score: 6/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.