Interview by: Birgit Haugen
Belphegor is an Austrian Death/Black Metal band founded in 1993. Known for their shocking lyrics and visuals they are by far no strangers to the international music scene. Although the band is complemented by several session musicians, the core members are only Helmuth (guitar, vocals) and Serpenth (bass) Upon the release of their 9th studio album via Nuclear Blast on February 8th, 2011 in North America, we had the opportunity to get a quick interview with Helmuth to get a quick overview of things to come.
SE: Your new Album Blood Magick Necromance was released in Europe in January and already received high remarks and chart ratings.Are you surprised about that or does it even matter to you?
Hel: The new monolith has been available in Europe for two weeks now. The feedback is beyond amazing. Of course we are not surprised since we have been in the charts for the past two LPs as well, BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE (ed. 2008) and WALPURGIS RITES – HEXENWAHN (ed. 2009). Last year we were even nominated for the Austrian Music Awards. Sick. It was never about any of this though, you know. Our mission is about Extreme Metal. Our passion has left a mark on the world, which is no surprise since we have toured extensively worldwide. No one can ignore our true dedication to musick. With this new LP - we have created a very solid and very special BELPHEGOR album. It was a huge challenge to create these eight sound collages, our most varied arrangements we ever composed. Nowadays you will not find another band in this genre that offers you such an intense, magnificent album. Extreme, epic. Majestic!
SE: About the album title? What does the name stand for or symbolize to you?
Hel: In witchcraft and all forms of Magick - Blood Magick is one of the most powerful forms, one many even warn against using. It is the most binding sort - once you make a blood pact - there is no turning back. This LP is a blood pact; a story of the most morbid of romance, a death pact which transcends the limits of time and space. Only the dedication between two of the most sinister and passionate souls could reach the heights of this ritual dismemberment and ultimate liberation. One important sentence on the new album: "I’LL EAT YOUR HEART TO TASTE U AGAIN - THE FEAST UPON THE DEAD"
SE: Do you write stuff for a new album while touring for a present one?
Hel: I don’t write on tour. Too much noise, alcohol/ drugs, beloved psychos, bizarre characters and excessiveness. Don't get me wrong... I am totally into the process, love the sights and sounds - but to actually create these works I need to get away from any influence. I need silence and exile to really get into my writing. I do not like to be surrounded by creatures, even their breath irritates me.
SE: Music and lyric wise, where do you draw your inspirations from?
Hel: Necrosis ruined infinity. Aleister Crowley arm wrestling in Hell with Anton Lavey. Real life sado - witch torture and massacre. The rats creeping around the
SE: The new album sounds more epic and has more atmospheres in it; will that be the new direction of Belphegor?
Hel: No new direction. We proved once again that we are able to develop and explore our already intense sound. We added new elements, structures, more dynamic - another level for intense Musick. We would never betray our sound, our roots. It was the masterplan as Serpenth (ed. Bass) and I started the writing. We knew it would not be the fastest LP, but we wanted to create the most majestic BELPHEGOR to date. We succeeded. The atmosphere is ritualistic, a haunting sick twisted Hellride!
SE: The last couple of albums were produced by Andy Classen, what made you decide to go with Peter Tägtgren this time?
Hel: Learned a lot from Andy Classen/ Stage One Studios, Germania. We made four LPs there, including our first full length in 1995 - THE LAST SUPPER. It was time for a change, a new passion, a new path. As a musician, the most important thing is to keep challenging yourself. To stagnate is death - the spirit to the dogs. A shitload of bands these days make no progression. This musick must spit fire, excite you, no remorse. For this we went to a new producer for a fresh take on our already heavy sound wall. It was important to get a new perspective, a tighter level of musicality and dynamics. The recording process was amazing, a huge challenge to me. BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE is exactly how we wanted to sound in 2011
SE: The video trailer for “Impaled Upon The Tongue Of Sathan” sparked a lot of controversy, what’s your take on the this?
Hel: We wanted a disgusting - archaic bloodbath. We made it. The clip is contrary to life, its total anti. With the concept of the forthcoming album the crew went through over 60 liters (ed. 16 gallons) of fresh blood within two nights of shooting. Smashing all oppressive morals with anti-Christian sentiment, the band presents a raw look at depraved blood rites which celebrate the liberation of man through death. The ritual action caught on tape was also inspired in part by the world famous works of Viennese Actionists such as Hermann Nitsch and Günter Brus.
SE: Last but not least, what are your touring plans for the new album?
Hel: Directly after the North American release date of BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE, on 8th February we start nonstop world touring. First raid w/ DEICIDE than another with SEPULTURA, before we heading over and punish European open airs, followed by a 28 date European tour in June/ July. We are motivated and ready to take the world by storm!
SE: Now for the famous last words.
Hel: Thanks fro the space Birgit. Hails to all who stuck with us, who just got into the band, or who came to the shows. Check out the new album, BLOOD MAGICK NECROMANCE. An honour this horror! www.belphegor.at
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