Belphegor burns from Austria to Oddbody’s

By Gary Spencer

Photo: (left to right) Helmuth Lehner, Serpenth, and Bloodhammer of Belphegor rain down in Dayton Saturday

If you’ve studied demonology, then you know that the demon Belphegor is one of the Seven Princes of Hell who specializes in the powers of discovery and invention. However, there’s a band from Austria who specializes in the powers of discovery and invention also known as Belphegor. Formed by guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Helmuth  Lehner in 1992, the trio discovered the power of mixing elements of both death metal and black metal into a new sound and were one of the European groups who pioneered the invention of what is now known as blackened death metal. Belphegor’s “supreme death/black metal art” oozes with sinister, Satanic overtones both sonic and lyrical perfect for playing in a dark, candlelit room in praise of all things evil and sexually twisted. Belphegor has released 10 full-length studio albums, toured the world multiple times, and continues to scare the bejeezus out of non-followers.

Belphegor will roll into the Gem City for the first time ever this coming Saturday for a live music “ritual” at Oddbody’s that is sure to get heads a bangin’ and invoke all manners of dark spirits we probably don’t want to know about. Dayton City Paper recently spoke to Lehner on what Belphegor is all about and their work:

Please tell me about Belphegor’s musical mission.

Helmuth Lehner: Belphegor was created with the idea to form an outstanding terror troop with the most blasphemic, diabolical, and perverse lyrical content—a symbioses of brutal Death Metal and hyperblasting raging Black Metal. That’s the trademark of the band to forge these two extreme Metal styles into a perfect unit.

How would you describe to someone who knows nothing about extreme metal what Belphegor sounds like?

HL: Belphegor is TNT! In the end, the art is all about passion, pleasure, and lust. Yes, Our sound has a big ritualistic impact. Magick.

What’s the basis for Belphegor’s lyrical content? 

HL: We often use original archaic chants, spells, and other anti-god poems. That’s why we use Latin, German, and English verses. I was and still am impressed by the darker aspects of humanity—thrilled by everything that is different and non-conformist…Big institutions, especially the church, are absolute manipulators! We do not let any others decide for Our art. We always crossed boundaries regarding verses, artwork, and musick and [we’ve] broken taboos. All of that is uber-important within art. This kinda musick is not here to calm people down…it’s full of fire and archaic eruptions.

Do you consider yourselves Satanists or consider the band to be Satanic in any way? 

HL: The devil is a powerful figure. I use the philosophy about Sathan/Lucifer as the Light-bearer in our lyrical content as a proud, exalted, majestic figure who resisted against all influences—a seducer, tempter. One to make his own decisions, walk his own path as a rebel, a mocker against the masses. We are enemies to the cross, preach freethinking and freedom. We do not kneel nor crawl before any god. Anti-church attitude with tendencies to nihilism is what We stand for!

Tell me about your most recent disc, 2014’s Conjuring the Dead, on Nuclear Blast Records. How might it compare or contrast to your back catalog? Do you feel it is a natural extension or evolution of the band in any way?

HL: Conjuring the Dead (aka #X) is a typical Belphegor record. Intense and brutal and fast. It was great to track an album [for the] first time in the USA with Erik Rutan as producer [Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal, amongst others]. We tried some new things within the extreme Metal genre as always and made some experiments, of course with all the Belphegor trademarks the band is known for.

What can audiences expect from your live show as opposed to hearing you on record?

HL: Belphegor on stage is more like an intense ritual, a celebration of brutal musick, magick, and chaos. You can’t compare us with any other band. You need to experience our ritual to understand what I am talking about. Some adore it, some hate it, some are offended, all fine by me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when people appreciate and respect it. They are the main reason why We can march on worldwide and celebrate Diabolical Death Metal Cremation!

Anything else you’d like to say to our readers about Belphegor’s upcoming performance in Dayton?

HL: We can’t wait to return to Ohio and burn it to ashes once again. Hail Metal! Hail Death!

Belphegor will perform this coming Saturday, Aug. 27 at Oddbody’s, 5418 Burkhardt Rd. in Dayton. Origin, The Shining, Engraved Darkness, and Weeping Lesion are also on the bill. Show is open to patrons 18 and over, and tickets are $25 in advance. Music begins at 5:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. For more information, please visit belphegor.at/.

Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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