Belphegor’s twelfth studio album, “The Devils,” is a dark and intense offering that showcases the band’s signature blackened death metal sound. From the opening track, it becomes evident that this album is a relentless onslaught of aggression and blasphemy. The band wastes no time in establishing their malevolent atmosphere, with screeching vocals, twisted riffs, and relentless blast beats that leave no doubt about their satanic intent.
While some may argue that Belphegor has ventured into slightly more melodic and accessible territories on this album, it is still undeniably rooted in extreme metal. The album features a pleasing amount of accessibility without compromising its heavy and uncompromising nature. Tracks like “Totentanz – Dance Macabre” showcase the band’s black metal influences, with razor-sharp riffs and a potent symphonic edge that adds to the overall intensity.
One notable aspect of “The Devils” is the variety in pacing and tempo. While some fans might long for more speed and ferocity, the album takes a more circuitous route, exploring different moods and incorporating acoustic instruments to great effect. Songs like “Virtus Asinaria – Prayer” demonstrate Belphegor’s ability to craft memorable black metal with a driving mid-tempo beat and a blend of evil atmosphere and understated melody.
The album does suffer from a relatively short runtime, with the main tracks totaling just over 35 minutes. However, the quality of the music compensates for its brevity. Tracks like “Ritus Incendium Diabolus” bring everything together in one last blast of malevolence, leaving a lasting impression. The production quality is top-notch, thanks to the work of Jens Bogren, adding to the overall impact of the album.
While “The Devils” may not evoke the same sense of dread and terror as some underground black metal masterpieces, it is a technically outstanding and well-produced record that showcases Belphegor’s mastery of the genre. The album delivers thundering riffs, captivating solos, and a variety of moods and flavors that will satisfy any black metaller. Overall, “The Devils” is a strong addition to Belphegor’s discography, and despite some minor shortcomings, it is an album that demands attention from fans of extreme metal.