Belphe­gor

MELECHESH/BLEED­ING GODS/ COM­MAN­DER

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Subterranea - LUKE MILNE

THE DOME, LON­DON

AUS­TRIAN AND IS­RAELI METAL DEVIANTS IN­VADE THE SENSES

OPEN­ING THE UK date of the Sum­mer Toten­ritual Cru­sade, Ger­man quar­tet COM­MAN­DER’S [6] rhyth­mic erup­tions and gui­tar har­monies pro­vide a ro­bust en­try, but some of the lightning-fast death metal riff­ing loses im­pact at lower reg­is­ters. Thank­fully, the ad­di­tion of key­boardist David Ro­jas equips BLEED­ING GODS’ [7] epic black metal with a thick, gothic at­mos­phere. The stab­bing chord frame­work of From Feast To Beast is a high­light, as the Dutch six-pack bite with vigour. Next up, MELECHESH [9] un­furl a tan­ta­lis­ing weave of Mid­dle East­ern in­flu­ence. Ex­pan­sive melodies linger as front­man Ashmedi coaxes his au­di­ence into a trance of sway­ing and chant­ing. The Is­raeli ex­iles’ cul­tural de­vi­a­tion even ex­tends to their play­ing tech­nique; Ashmedi strikes his gui­tar strings with a drum­stick, sim­u­lat­ing the rabab – an eighth-cen­tury Ara­bic in­stru­ment. It’s en­velop­ing, hyp­notic and over too soon. “Save your pray­ers, God is not here,” rasps Hel­muth Lehner, preach­ing dark po­etic ser­mons be­tween tow­er­ing ex­cerpts from last year’s Toten­ritual. Two skele­tal pil­lars on the stage threaten rit­ual sac­ri­fice as the ex­treme metal sav­agery of BELPHE­GOR

[9] im­pacts with plea­sur­ably un­re­lent­ing ten­sion. From Devil’s Son to Gas­mask Terror, each song can­nons force­fully with a cin­e­matic ac­com­pa­ni­ment of ag­gres­sive light­ing and smoke. An ex­pertly de­liv­ered show­case rounds off with an im­pos­ing ren­di­tion of sin­gle Baphomet, and the thick, ap­pre­cia­tive dis­play of devil horns feels sin­fully pur­pose­ful.

melechesh’s ashmedi makes an almighty djinn

Belphe­gor: bloody-minded death black metal

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