Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blood, Sex, and Majick: BELPHEGOR

Interview w/ HELMUTH for Hails & Horns Magazine
Kim Kelly

“We Preach the Blastbeast ”: Belphegor

To anyone who’s ever been exposed to the murderous aural onslaught of modern-day Austria’s deadliest export, the idea of delving a little deeper into Belphegor’s twisted world is frightening at best. Their latest record, Bondage Goat Zombie, makes no allowances for the weak of will (or stomach) – an odious love letter to all that is unholy, perverted, and taboo, the album hurtles past like a runaway train bound for Hell and, in a word, decimates. Who knows what lurks behind those menacing visages, razor-sharp riffs, and ever-present blastbeats?

After having a nice long chat with their surprisingly congenial mainman Helmuth, I managed to piece together a few parts of the puzzle, and now, you, dear readers, are about to discover what Belphegor is all about. Tread carefully – there’s a LOT of blood involved…

I’ve been into you guys since I first heard Lucifer Incestus, and have been playing Bondage Goat Zombie nonstop since I got it. How do you feel about BGZ, now that the new record’s been out for awhile and you’ve had a chance to sit back and look at it a bit more objectively? How do you think it stacks up against and fits into your overall catalog?

Helmuth: Thanks for liking the album. Well, I bunkered myself with Serpenth and session drummer Torturer into our rehearsal room, and we continued to develop and refine the songs over and over again. Never before have we spent so much time in the rehearsal room, and never before have we put so much energy in our new material. We worked for months day and night on the album, on every detail. The variation in the music is one of its strong points. BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE is such a huge evolutionary step for this band in terms of sound, songwriting and the musicianship. I´m really proud of it.

I’d like to talk about the lyrics for a moment. You’ve stated before that Bondage Goat Zombie is all about, well, bondage, goats, and zombies (more or less), drawing inspiration from the writings and persona of the famed Marquis du Sade. What draws you to these lyrical topics, and how do you feel they fit into your music?

Yeah, the lyrical content just has to always fit the cover, photo, booklet art and meld the whole into a cold unit and give the brutal music some extra Kraft.

Basically the lyrical concept of this album deals with the fascinating life of the Marquis De Sade. The word "sadism" comes from Marquis de Sade's name.

I´m more than impressed by De Sade since 1997 when I first got my hands on 120 Days Of Sodom, Justine and Julliette etc (I really recommend these scripts).

Also his live was very impressive, I used many of his original verses for the album. He was a rebel and was in jail for about 25 years for his art, ideals and even after being imprisoned for that long, he always refused to kneel down. The message is clear: It’s about rebellion in man, free will and taking the decision to walk your own path, my opinion, freedom is the most important thing in life.

By the way, the flagellation at the end of the track THE RUTENMARSCH is not fake and we used original verses from Donatien Marquis De Sade ( 1740-1814 ) and as always, one very important sentence from F.W. Nietzsche ( 1844-1900 ). The last spoken words "...drown me in your fukk, drown me", are perfect and blackest poetry to me.

Who is “Justine”?

A collection of scripts from Marquis De Sade that broke a lot of taboos back then - a battlefield full of perverted rough sex, humiliation,...but on the other hand, his writing is pure poetry, really, its beyond amazing.

What is the English translation of the chorus for “The Sukkubus Lustrate”?

No man ,sorry! Let me tell you, it fits BELPHEGORperfectly to use German, English and Latin in the lyrics. We've been doing it since 1994 and it is to the utmost

original and gives a certain fire, intensity, and distinctness. It is much more extreme this way than to choose just one language - it is another BELPHEGOR trademark. Besides, you can’t translate some of the old verses, magic, and incantations we use,

‘cause the sense would be defaced, or the words don't exist anymore.

As for the music itself, how would you say that BGZ differs from Pestokalypse? How about from Bloodbath in Paradise, your first demo?

I don’t compare album. We talk about music, each time and album we give our best,..I associate every album with a certain period of life, if you know what I mean. BELPHEGOR formed at the end of 1992 with the intention to create some of the most brutal and extreme music possible. On BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE we tried a few new things, added some new elements, epic melodies here and there as we always do, trying to take our sound a bit further each time, and worked extremely hard to try to increase that intensity and dynamics...have a listen and destroy yourselves.

How does Belphegor go about creating a new song and writing a new record?

To becoming mightier, more intense with every opus has always been our aim since 1993, we all have practiced a lot on our instruments the last years, to improve our playing and compositional abilities, to increase the intensity and dynamics, to just get better in all musical aspects…stagnation = death. There is no master plan man; sometimes I wish we had one, but it is, like always, goddamn chaos and a challenge when we start to work on a new opus/ track and be creative again. Our philosophy is to develop the evil spirit, the morbidity, the Schmerz you know; we always want to offer ourselves the best, and also the maniakks who buy our albums and who support us with that, they deserve the best, only the fukking best.

Have you begun writing material for the next album? Can you share any details about or plans for the next record? What can we expect to see?

Yeah, we already started in June this year with the songwriting for the next Werk. Believe me, we are high on fire and so motivated! We´ll give everything of our energy and our blood again to explore our sound and take it to the next level. But, it’s too early to talk about it, I expect, and you should expect more machine gun blasting hellfire in the musical form in the future. Be prepared! The release date will be 14th of August 2009 via Nuclear Blast Records, worldwide.

You’ve been playing your own signature style of blasphemous black/death metal since 1993; can you give a little background on the band, and how you’ve ended up where you are now?

MUSICK - SATHAN - ART since 1992!

Our master plan has been since 1992 to do what we like, break some taboos etc. It is Belphegor to the bone - anti human - antilife. We always blasted the brutal Metal of Death, with aggressive Black Metal influences. You know, when listening to BELPHEGOR it should be about having a good time, summoning your demons and being prepared for a true musical attack.

Who’s drumming for you nowadays?

Yeah, it's not easy to find hundred percent dedicated musicians, who like to be on the road and spend a lot of time in the rehearsal room/studio and for who the band is on the first place, especially drummers, you know...we demand a lot.
For years we’ve worked with 2-3 rotating drummers, we always recruit experienced musicians to guarantee the brothers and sisters an intense
BELPHEGOR live inferno. As I already mentioned, it's not a big deal, we are on the road the whole year, the core is goddamn solid and ready to kick some serious ass, and that’s all you need to know.

Are you looking forward to playing in the US again? I remember the last time I saw you guys, you absolutely slayed – one of the more brutal live performances I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.

Thank you very much for ya appreciation bro. Yeah, BELPHEGOR in a live situation is kinda like TNT, i think we are really intense and always concentrate on the blastbeat tracks. People should come to our live shows to experience the real shit firsthand.

Do US crowds react differently to Belphegor than their European counterparts?

There are more moshpits than in Europe, but, it principally doesn't matter where we play, Metal demons, are cool people worldwide – everywhere, they are in a good mood, celebrate and go crazy, scream, begin to bang. Having a good time is always great for the band and makes you invest more and more onstage, to unchain more energy. For me, its the best to play live. You know, we are always exited, each show is beyond amazing for us and also a huge challenge. We did so many shows in the last decade, had unforgettable good times, and met so many wonderful dedicated people worldwide.

How did you end up on the Amon Amarth tour, and just how much beer do you think will be consumed on the road every night? Swedes, Finns, and Austrians all traveling together are bound to get into some sort of alcoholic mischief! What’s the most insane thing that’s happened to you on the road or at a festival before?

Helmuth: Yeah, the whole run was great!It was a real blast, and a real pleasure for us to meet so many dedicated die - hard demons on that tour again and it was awesome to tour with the vikings of AMON AMARTH. Hell yeah, lots of good memories, lots of alcohol! BELPHEGOR return in April/ May with fukking KREATOR and fukking EXODUS, (what a killer headbanger package) so see ya all, hell awaits.....can´t wait.

What songs do you always make sure to include in your setlist? I know I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get to see “Lucifer Incestus” or something off Goatreich Fleshcult on the next tour!

JUSTINE: SOAKED IN BLOOD, LUCIFER INCESTUS, STIGMA DIABOLICUM, BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE, BELPHEGOR - HELL´S AMBASSADOR, SWARM OF RATS and of course SEYN TODT IN SCHWARTZ. In a live situation we always concentrate on the fast stuff. We preach the blastbeat - that’s our mission!

What do you guys do when you’re not recording, writing, or on the road – who are the “regular guys” behind the Satanic madness of the band?

BELPHEGOR never was a satanic band, its more about antilife with tendencies to nihilism, I mean, we are simple metalheads, who glorify METAL. Privately, I do some weight training here and there, possessed by playing guitar, and also handle the band management and all the band related stuff you have to do and deal with.I'm also into drugs and alcohol and dig it to get fukked up, same goes for when I’m on the road but never before the show! And I can´t deal with restrictions.

What is it about this type of music that makes you love it so much?

Metal musick will always be here and live forever, fukk the trends. Nowadays Death/ Black Metal rules the world and is the strongest, the most archaic of all kinds. We always have to search for evolution and explore the music, and bring it a bit further each time.

Musick = Blood = Sex = Passion = Live.

Why does Belphegor exist – what is your purpose for this band?

Actually, the music comes first and dominates everything, the rest is death, devil and sex, this was the case in the early days of the band, and so it remains today. We always try to bring something interesting to an already oversaturated, commercial Metal market. The most important thing is tha,t when you play a BELPHEGOR song, you immediately recognize that it is BELPHEGOR. So what can I say except that we´ll do what we always do - to keep the fire burning, to try to unleash more energy and release intense albums.

Thanks for the space, see ya on the road, hails to your readership and all Metal brothers and sisters worldwide. Hail Metal! Hail Death !

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