2011 Best Metal Releases (Belphegor – Blood Magick Necromance)

Written By: Etienne V (THT London)

With 2011 a little over halfway done, I’ve seen a few “best of” lists emerging online that highlight some of the best releases so far this year. While I agree with a few of the albums on these lists, I think there are still some albums that aren’t getting the level of recognition they deserve. A lot of shit is released these days onto metal fans everywhere, so I’ve tried to do my best to highlight the albums that stand out – at least in my opinion. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll tell you what those albums are and give you some insight into why I think that particular album is worth your time. A lot of you will disagree with me, and that’s ok. I suppose we’re all entitled to our own opinions. In fact, if you think I should be listening to something else, or have your own suggestions for albums that stood out this year, feel free to email me and I promise I’ll take a listen. If you have criticisms of the albums I’ve chosen or have critiques of my personal opinions – PLEASE DO NOT SEND THOSE. That would simply be a waste of my time. Now…on to our first album:

WHO: Belphegor

ALBUM: Blood Magick Necromance

LABEL: Nuclear Blast Records

WHY YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING: Despite the overdone album title and almost comical album art, Blood Magick Necromance is an extremely solid release from these Austrian natives. Over the years, Belphegor has increasingly developed their own signature sound, which is important considering that the majority of metal bands these days are at best unremarkable. Blood Magick completely outdoes its predecessor, Walpurgis Rites – Hexenwahn in its songwriting, production and intensity while remaining true to their blackened death metal sound. Though the majority of the songs on the album are over the 5 minute mark, (which in the age of the short attention span can feel like an eternity), each song has it’s own personality that drives the album well from beginning to end. Through the use of traditional songwriting structure (i.e. Verse, chorus, verse bridge etc.) and lengthy introductions without vocals, Belphegor seem to push the listener to embrace the melodies and to challenge the ever-growing spasmodic songwriting of some of their metal counterparts. While this isn’t straightforward black metal, there are still plenty of dark riffs, blast beats, and ominous textures that should resonate with those listeners with a more pure black metal spirit. If you’re looking for a tough, melodic and well-written black/death metal album, I’d highly suggest checking this one out.

ALBUM HIGHLIGHTS: Rise and Fall to Rise, Blood Magick Necromance, Impaled Upon the Tongue of Sathan

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