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Interview - Helmuth (Belphegor)

Interview with Helmuth from Belphegor
by Deaddie McConnaughy at 04 September 2014, 12:21 PM

I have been quite the fiendish fan of Black Metal and the evil side since I was an early teen. So when I  found out about the interview with Helmuth from BELPHEGOR, you can bet your sweet satanic ass that I jumped instantly at it. Their brand of Blackened Death Metal is second to none. The eery music, with the blasphemous lyrics are perfect for each other. The Bondage Goat Zombies are releasing their brand new album "Conjuring The Dead" , and I for one am stoked about it. So enough of my rambling, let's get to the good stuff.

So you‘re putting out the new album, how did the recording process go?

First off, thank you for your appreciation…an honor to us!

I never worked so hard on another release. I always had in the back of my mind, and feared after my life-threatening illness, it could be the last BELPHEGOR album. So I didn't want to fukk around, I wanted do things absolutely right. We had to delay it a few times as I was recovering from the intense surgery which saved my life. It was difficult, I had always been very active and for this first time my body had shown me limits. With Erik Rutan at the helm of production and contributing great ideas, pushing us to be better than ever before, we are victorious! CONJURING THE DEAD was a tough raid, can’t wait til it gets released and I have my physical Album in my hands. That's always a very special moment to me, then I get to see all the hard work, the sweat the sacrifice, that it all was worth it.

What equipment do you use in the studio? Is it different than the equipment you use on stage?

Our instruments are the same.

To be honest, I don’t have that much knowledge about studio equipment, and I've never been too interested in the fine details. I'm a musician. That’s the reason why we work with an experienced producer. Thing is, we dig what we are doing here. There was always passion for this kind of music and possession in BELPHEGOR in all sorts of ways, and still is. Each time when we start a project we try to challenge ourselves, get the compositions on the next level. We've changed studios, producers, tried new things – keep it fresh, it’s always exciting and the fire of passion to create extreme music keeps burning. I can tell you I’m very pleased with the new album, it sounds like two machine guns fukking and firing together with full capacity.

What did you do differently for this album, than on previous albums?

I wanted to have a more Death Metal approach on this Lp, more raw and of course brutal, plus all the typical BELPHEGOR trademarks. It was time to return to our roots.

I´ll tell you a little about the new songs.

"The Eyes" is an intermezzo, it calms everything down after the first five brutal sound collages. I played the classic acoustic guitar and over that, you hear a lead guitar screaming. After "The Eyes", we start with this technical Death monster entitled "Legions Of Destruction". For "Rex Tremendae Majestatis" we added a lot classical tones in the guitar department. The title is taken from WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART’s last composition, "Requiem". He wrote it in his deathbed. He knew he would die soon. It shows how good artists can get when they feel threatened, or know their time is up! The song has influences by this composition when it comes to the intensity of the atmosphere. I have to be careful with such statements, I don’t want to be, as often as it happens, misinterpreted. I'm not a composer like MOZART, he was a genius. But this  track is exactly what I felt, which my aim was, as I started creating "Rex Tremendae Majestatis" and when I listen to :Requiem".

The outro/epilogue of Pactum In Aeternum, all played with nature instruments, most self made, a lot of parts there are played with real bones ( humans and animals…), menacing and dark! They were created by KRAMATACH, an archaic cave band from Austria.

"In Death" is about my return on stage and front my band again, my experience with dancing with the dead. It’s a fast forward Thrash Metal track, with very old school –straight in your face- Death Metal.

On Flesh, Bones And Blood" we also touched a new territory. The track comes with an industrial feeling and Slam Death Metal guitars, with an ritual atmosphere in the chorus.

While high speed massacres like "Black Winged Torment" and "Gasmask Terror" are typical BELPHEGOR tracks. "Black Winged Torment" is with our beloved  "Lucifer Incestus" our fastest song we ever wrote,…it will be devastating in a live situation. We premiered "Gasmask  Terror" on stage a week ago at open airs in Germania and France and it went fantastically!

Each time when we start a project we experiment within our style. We’ve changed studios, producers, always trying new things. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not, but all in all I am really pleased with our discography and especially with the new slasher.

How did you come up with the concept for “Conjuring the Dead”?

It was heavily inspired by my own actual dance with death, as well as the downfall of all humanity.

My health issues and recovery affected everything regarding the new album, the band, my life. That's why the songs on CONJURING THE DEAD sound way more brutal, edgy and raw, we put a lot of the epic elements away, concentrated on the sick Death brutality with obscure melodies. Straight in your face. On the new record we celebrate Diabolical Death Metal.

How about the art work? Do you have a specific person who does your art work?

We worked with Seth from Greece once again. I am very happy with the art. Seth always brings good ideas and it’s great working with him.

This is a conceptual depiction of the world of terror we actually do live in. It’s about how I see the human race nowadays, how we destroy life/nature, poison ourselves in a variety of ways for many reasons. We work hard to fukk up everything and dig our own graves and destroy the earth in the name of greed and might.

People that support BELPHEGOR find the lyric sheets in the booklet of the physical Cd. I encourage them to form their own interpretations, too.

What are your touring plans? What countries do you plan on going to?

In Europe we concentrate on festivals for 2014-2015. We are doing approximately 20 open airs and indoor festivals this year. Norway, Sweden, Jakarta, France, Germania are already successfully conquered. There is a lot coming on the map like Japan, China, South Africa. Always great to march into new territories, big challenges. Mid-September through mid-October we’re doing our 9th North American tour. First time that we headline a full tour in the US, that will be great to return and conquer the states again. Direct support is from our Greek Metal brothers in ROTTING CHRIST. BEHEADED from Malta and SVART CROWN from France are also a part of the bill. At the end of the year, a  festival tour through South America.

Each BELPHEGOR concert is a surprise man, we are known for brutal stage rituals, and still celebrate extreme Death Musick. Brutal.

A lot of bands claim to be Satanic and use Satanism for themes in their music, yet obviously some are not hardcore Satanists. How into Satanism are you, is it a zealous devotion, or an interest in the philosophy, or just discontent with Christianity in today’s world?

I was and still am impressed by the darker aspects of humanity. All that is different and non-conformist. I describe myself as atheist. I mean, there is a lot of obscurity and possession in BELPHEGOR, still is, always was, otherwise you couldn't do that for 21 years. The thing with art in my opinion is, only the excessive people did something that counted and lasted. You can't sing about hell if you've never been there. Look at the history of art, it doesn't matter–painter, composer, author, actor, whatever– the ones who were close to insanity, often in delirium, on drugs in kind of  “their own twilight zone”, were the best and still remain.

I use the philosophy about Sathan/ Lucifer - the Lightbearer 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. Victorious!

Do you have any predictions for the album?

Not really. I don’t care that much. I can’t exactly say for what reasons it’s this way. Thing is, the Death/ Black Metal scene is full of mainstream sounds recently. The rebellious brutal approach, the fukk you all attitude, resist against everything outlook, it went to the dogs a long time ago. That’s how we see our role, to be different in this stale scene.

What anyone else thinks won’t affect me. I just do my own thing, walk my own path and decide for myself with my own rules, in my own world. Some people like it and support us, which I really appreciate..a huge honor to me. Some hate it or are offended, all fine by me.

I hope people understand the more Death Metal approach and dig the new monster, as we do. It’s our strongest, most extreme release since the beginning. We are authentic and march on and on. Pactum In Aeternum!!

What lead you into the Black / Death Metal scene in the first place?

At the beginning we were inspired by bands, such as DEATH, AUTOPSYENSLAVEDSLAYER, MAYHEM. Again, the darker aspects of humanity always appealed to me. All of this fascination started when I was a kid watching Mr. Vincent Price, and all the Dracula/ Boris Karloff Frankenstein stuff. Long time ago. The themes and sounds of Extreme Metal relate to everything I adore and to who I am.

Who are your main influences?

I’m open-minded listen to almost everything when it comes to Hardrock/ Metal. I enjoy what I like and ignore the rest. It isn't easy to pick a specific band, really. There are loads out there that are just killer. I also dig Flamenco guitars, its fast, archaic, passionate - exalted like extreme Metal and of course classical composers get my attention.

Guitar-wise, when it comes to "lead guitars“ my fave with the best tone still is Yngwie Malmsteen. I also learned a lot from, let's call them "mentors", such as Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Trey Azagthoth and Randy Rhoades. They were also important to my guitar shredding. When it comes to "riffs" I have to mention Tony Iommi, King/ Hanneman, James Hetfield, Tipton/ Downing.

In a word how can you describe the new album?


Do you have anything to say to the fans?

I don’t really like the term “fans”. Let’s say maniakks, soldiers, supporters…something like that!

Thank you to the people who listen to our records, buy merch at the shows, and all who attend BELPHEGOR live rituals.

Thank you very much for this interview opportunity. I hope I get to see you guys live soon. \\m/

Pleasure was all mine. Thank you for the space.

I want to let everyone know the limited digipak edition contains a bonus Dvd, with a running time over 70 minutes, for die-hard BELPHEGOR soldiers it’s a must have. Guys, run to your local store and check out the new album. Mark that date in your calendar! Support our legacy, support BELPHEGOR!!
An honor – this horror.


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Edited 08 December 2022

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