Belphegor, Conjuring The Dead, fresh blood

Is Salzburg (Austria) a good place to play blackened death metal ? We don’t know and we didn’t ask the founder and the frontman of Belphegor, Helmuth Lehner. Recorded in Saint Petersburg (Florida), « Conjuring The Dead » is the tenth album of the band and a good successor to « Blood Magick Necromance ». Let’s have a look.

When you look back at "Blood Magick Necromance", how do you consider this album today ?
Helmuth Lehner : "Blood Magick Necromance" was majestic, full of elaborate arrangements and most tracks had a playtime over 6 minutes. It's a crushing Belphegor record. For the new slasher, « Conjuring The Dead », my aim was a brutal, aggressive death metal sound. More straight in your face tracks. The songs are more to the point, putting the epic stuff aside and concentrating on the relentless power of extreme metal. Our new offering celebrates, or let's say, glorifies diabolical death metal with raging high-speed black metal influences. This album is outstanding when it comes to brutality. We are still consistent, brutal and marching in worldwide without compromise.

So can we talk more about this tenth album, let us know about your work with Erick Rutan ?
It is important to challenge yourself, to change formulas, musicians, studios, to keep everything fresh and exciting. Stagnation is death !! After long periods of time, you need fresh blood. In my opinion, that's the only way to keep a band on fire, especially after over 2 decades. First off, I have to admit that this is a dream because we haven't recorded an Lp in the USA before and I always wanted to do so. I had this vision for a long time. Man, I never thought this was gonna happen. We fucking did it. The collaboration with Erik was way better than I ever expected, man. He was so into the whole thing, amazing. Sometimes it felt like he was a member of the band. It's great to see a guy so on top of it regarding tone, and the entire recording process to try to force us to track ultra tight performances, and so on. A huge challenge and quite an interesting experience. The sound goes more in the direction of simulating a live impression, it isn't that polished. If you put the stereo on max, you get the feel the band is in the same room, and just playing for you, which was the intention. Erik forged us a great sound wall. It sounds like two machine guns fucking and firing together.

And about the recording process at Mana Studios ?
I believe we started recording drums and bass guitars in end of May 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. We had to delay the LP a few times due to my health issues. The operation I had in October 2011 forced me to spend six weeks in the hospital and another six weeks rehab. After that, I was still recovering for nine months. Unfortunately, I had a lot of setbacks on the way back on track. Therefore it all lasted way longer than we expected. But at the end it helped me a lot to recover, I mean the goal in sight to record a new album. At the end I was victorious. Can't wait until it'll get unleashed.

Is there a concept around "Conjuring The Dead" ?
Since I was a kid, I was always thrilled by horror, Dracula, all evil, the dark side of humanity. Later on in the beginning of the nineties, I got into the ingenious Marquis De Sade, so I added BDSM to our concept. Blasphemy, the devil mixed with obscene perversion. It inspired my whole life... it’s still my passion. I treasure these themes. People that support Belphegor find the lyric sheets in the booklet of the physical Cd. They should let the music speak to them and decide what it is about for themselves, as well. This isn't a concept album. We approached the music more maturely than ever before. I also added way more death-growls. The growls just fit better to the new death sound-collages. There are still a loads of my trademark grunts on the album as well. The cover art tells it all with a lot of symbolism : priests that wade in their own hypocritical shit, devastation, I like this surreal style…humanity digs their own graves, they work hard to fuck it all up, to continuously destroy the planet.

What means death or black metal for you today ?
Honestly, I never cared that much about scenes. I always support what I like and ignore the rest. It's important to walk your own path, make your own decisions, in an hermetical way. Freedom is the most important thing, to express yourself, explore your visions. That is what elphegor always stood for. Music is always the highest priority. It's what stays and remains prominent in the end. In eternity. I have to admit, we never tried to be a black metal band. And I have to repeat myself again and again. I've always described us as a raging death troop. We shred lower tuned guitars since the end of 1992 and do a lot of growls to vary the vocal center from spoken words, chanting, to screams, grunts, etc. Belphegor play the brutal metal of death !! Also, our offensive lyrical content isn't about worshiping anything other than yourself. Hail to all demons for the tremendous support over the years.

Edited by Dead Zone
Photo : DR

Belphegor, Conjuring The Dead (Nuclear Blast)
Out on 11th of August 2014

Belphegor, Conjuring The Dead, official video