Austria’s Belphegor has always been a band that has just kind of existed for me. While I’ve liked everything I’ve heard since I was first introduced to them with the Lucifer Incestus album a little over a decade ago, I haven’t paid much attention to them only catching an album here and there. It’s not to say they aren’t a solid band, because they are. Their blend of death and black metal is heavy and enjoyable but they never take that chance to do something more like their peers in Behemoth, Akercocke, or God Dethroned and expand their sound. They essentially have been content in releasing essentially the same record again and again for the last 11 years. Consistency is generally a good thing but you need to mess around with the spices a little bit. In the new album, Conjuring The Dead, we’re delivered more of the same.

I don’t mean to completely shit on the band. As I said, I’ve enjoyed every album I’ve had the chance to listen to between 2003 and now and I generally enjoy this current record. What Belphegor brings to the table is a mixture of both separation and fusion. There are total songs that lean heavily to the fast tremolo picking riffs and blast beats of black metal to the thrashier crunch heavy pummeling of death metal and then for certain tracks they find a way to incorporate them both at the same time to build a really complete song. Vocals are on the deep side and are more in line with Nergal’s old delivery on the Satanica record and never hit the high pitched wails of Jason Medonca (Akercocke) uses from time to time. Even though blackened death metal is technically a hybrid genre, once you hear one or two songs on the album, you have a general sense of what the record is going to offer for its entire duration. The only really stinker on the record is the song Flesh, Bone, and Blood. It has an awful nu-metal vibe to it that makes me sad that I ever listened to it once.

The best aspect of this record is that the band is finally being taken care of right in the studio. Not that any of their albums sounded bad but working with Erik Rutan has improved their sound greatly. It's like going from standard to HDTV. Everything that guy seems to touch when producing sounds like gold. This record is no different.

There really isn’t much more to be said about this record. It’s pretty generic and cut from the same exact cloth as the rest of Belphegor’s catalog. It’s an enjoyable record aside from one track but don’t expect to be blown away by it. I’d say it’s recommended but not something you need to rush out and buy. Heavy and enjoyable but ultimately will be quickly forgotten.