Belphegor - Bondage Goat Zombie
Nuclear Blast
Blackened Death Metal
10 songs (39:44)
Release year: 2008
Belphegor, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by James

Belphegor have been peddling much the shame brand of blackened death metal for the past 13 years now, and Bondage Goat Zombie is their seventh studio full-length. Not much has changed over these thirteen years, right down to the over-the-top blasphemy (debut The Last Supper featured sliced-up baby Jesus artwork). The music still leans closer to black metal than death metal, revolving almost entirely around blastbeats of various speeds and melodic tremelo riffs. Every song has a fairly similar structure. Come out of the gate as fast possible, slow down for something approaching a chorus, go back to ridiculous speeds, throw in a solo, reprise the chorus, and sprint to the finish. The lyrics are still fairly standard Satanic fare, though with a slight sadistic edge befitting the title. Variety? You won't find it here, buddy. So, we're faced with a collection of songs that simply must live or die on riff quality, as they're all basically the same.

Luckily, Belphegor have stacks of quality riffs. Despite the band's utter dedication to ripping your face off, the riffs have a weird, depressive, sorrowful quality to them. Death metal chugging such as that featured on Justine: Soaked In Blood is definitely not the norm here. Guitarist and main songwriter Helmuth clearly has a knack for black metal songcraft. And for the first few listens at least, Bondage Goat Zombie is very entertaining indeed.

But after five listens or so, the album seems less thrilling, each successive spin feeling like more of a chore. And I honestly don't know what the problem is. Maybe I've heard this type of thing too many times before. Maybe it's the slick Nuclear Blast production, that while adding extra oomph to the band's attack, also strips it completely of anything resembling atmosphere. Maybe it's because after repeated listenings, the album is already exhausted. There doesn't seem to be any real hidden depth here. A few listens is all it takes to realize this is it you're not going to notice anything new and fresh to keep you listening again and again. It has its moments I suppose, such as the title track, which essentially lays down the band's manifesto in four minutes flat. Sexdictator Lucifer makes a nice change of pace and proves to be one of the most enjoyable tracks, despite the somewhat silly use of porno samples. And what's this on closer Der Rutenmarsch? The band have actually crafted something genuinely dark and disturbing, with the song's outro comprising of chilling weeping played over a sinister clean melody.

Belphegor aren't a bad band, and Bondage Goat Zombie certainly isn't bad music. But it's extreme metal fast food. The viciousness on offer here is certainly pleasant at first, but the album feels disposable and throwaway, and before long we're left with a case of familiarity breeding contempt. One for fans only, I'm afraid.

Killing Songs :
Bondage Goat Zombie, Sexdictator Lucifer, Der Rutenmarsch
James quoted 63 / 100
Other albums by Belphegor that we have reviewed:
Belphegor - Goatreich - Fleshcult reviewed by Jared and quoted 85 / 100
Belphegor - Conjuring the Dead reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Belphegor - Blood Magick Necromance reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Belphegor - Lucifer Incestus reviewed by Tony and quoted 86 / 100
Belphegor - Pestapokalypse VI reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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