Belphegor: “Dissonant, Milling, and Sinister”

“Dissonant, Milling, and Sinister”

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From Legacy Magazine Issue number 083, February 2013 (originally published in German)

                An insidious bout of Typhus illness not only radically turned the life of Belphegor Frontman Helmuth Lehner inside-out, but also the future plans of the band. On the new upcoming album with the working title, “Chapter X”, instrumentals are currently being  completed in the studio of Hate Eternal Head, Erik Rutan, in the U.S. [but] for the vocal recording thus far Helmuth simply lacks the strength.

Not only must the expected release date be moved from March to August or to September, also up until then serious alterations are on the agenda. At the last concert since his illness and the heart operation, given the circumstances Helmuth had a totally different perspective. “I was limited in so far as I still couldn’t undertake the main vocals again. On the one hand, I’m going back on the stage with caution as always, but I enjoy it so much that I’m “allowed” to lay ruin live again. Earlier, we played 120 shows or more in a year. That was an awesome time, but that is in the past. For our 20-year anniversary, I’m planning plus-or-minus 50 rituals this year.”

This Goat-awful turn-of-events crept up on the unholy band in Autumn, 2011 on tour in South America, “I still delivered the first eight shows on stage, but after the third it started going hellaciously downhill. Then, it was no longer possible for me to even hold my guitar, but I did make the mistake and I flew further to Venezuela, where it still hadn’t registered with me that it was the end, and I still thought that I would [perform] again. So I carried the Typhus illness over a week, which totally fukked my lungs up [because] they were saturated with the virus. I had already played shows with a 40 degree [C] (104 degree F)  fever, and it banged me about on stage and after ten minutes I was back out there playing again. But this time, it was no longer possible. My soldiers had already played two shows without me. I was in Colombia already lying in the hotel bed in feverish delirium, and a doctor who couldn’t speak any English was slamming random injections in my backside. In countries like Colombia or Venezuela one cannot simply cancel a show; they’d lynch the promoter.”

As the songwriter, no other alternatives other than pulling strings in the background would be in the question. “I never thought about this situation [occurring]. Everything could have an ending at any time. With Belphegor I’ve laid an imprint in extreme Metal-Hell, and I’m very proud of all that I’ve achieved. I have traveled the world often and through that have had a very intense and interesting life. I could fill books.” Helmuth breaks down the present recording of the tenth Belphegor album thusly: “I’m a fighter. But after two days I had to advocate for myself, that it wasn’t exactly the performance that I want to attain. [The range of] my vocals is as always very diverse, I try a lot of rumbling choirs, grunts, screams, etc. that were not possible. I have specific visions in mind in order to fully realize [the end product]. The volume, sustain [level], aggression are still not there. It is important to me that my vocals sound emotionally offensive; these rumbling-grunts or annoying Hardcore-Death-Squeals would be too boring for me on a Belphegor album. So, surrender for the moment. We are always experimenting with what’s there, what happens to be in our external surroundings is also inside [the sound of the album]: Belphegor soon to be a sound-storm. . .TNT. That will not change! So far, everything is finished except for the vocals. A violent massacre: dissonant, milling, and sinister. The entire new album for me is more than just a harder way, it’s a test. It had already began to get difficult in the pre-production with the guitar, where I often had to pause because the energy just left me. Erik showed annoyance and can motivate, without him it would not have been possible. The guitars sound to you like they were never so tight and dynamic as on this album. “Chapter X” sounds organic, very earthy, and much more aggressive than the other LP’s. That was the master plan. Epic, more sinister, Death-lead!”

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The doctors advised Helmuth against getting back too fast to a full [work] load. “Maybe it would have been better to wait a bit longer—but after such a journey what’s most important is for one to have a goal. With that, I put myself out there again. Serpenth (bass) and Marthyn (drums) flew over [to the States] in June 2012 and have already recorded all their parts. I still could not then [because] I shouldn’t have boarded an airplane. So I went over there for about 2 weeks in August and November and laid down the guitar tracks. I can already reveal some particular tracks: “Gasmask Terror”, “Rex Tremendae Majestatis”, “Lucifer, Take her!”, and “The Inverted Cross”. The last song that I’ve named comes with two vocalists. My favorite black metal vocalist sings both the choruses, my favorite death growler [does] the stanzas, and I will take on the rest. Brutal-chaos song treasury. “  Meanwhile, Helmuth sees a sun at the end of the horizon. “So about a year before the operation, I had already started to notice that something wasn’t right. I was often weak and tired—but naturally I didn’t notice the signs and continued further with the excess. In the hospital, yeah, I thought it was all over. Often, it ends differently, ‘An honor, this horror. . .’”

So far, one can set their sights on the next Belphegor anniversary being a quarter of a century of Belphegor. “Fukk. Who knows, man. . .these last 20 years for me are totally unreal,” Helmuth laughs, “It’s always getting better, everything is moving on very slowly. I hate this turmoil, but it has changed so much, and a good thing needs time. I just want to give 666%; that is what we owe the demons who support Belphegor. This time, no journalist at least can complain that in all of 14 to 16 months there’s a Belphegor Monster coming to the market.” A continuation of a conversation with Helmuth about his fight against the Typhus virus and his recovery after the operation that gave him an artificial heart valve can be found on our homepage [see this link here for English translation of that article: here ] http://www.legacy.de.

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Belphegor: “Tales from the Crypt” from Legacy Magazine (DE)

Tales from the Crypt:

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Originally published on legacy.de online articles in German on 03.01.13

                No, this tale doesn’t come from the crypt, but still one gets the feeling that Helmuth is “back from the dead”. The Belphegor lead lived through some hard times after his typhus infection in late 2011, such as the ones he has described in detail here. He’s allowed himself to halt work and his band hasn’t resumed work without him at all. For the time being, the tank must travel at a lower speed.

“20 Years of Belphegor” will–despite all the adversities–not just be celebrated by a special edition poster, rather the way it’s supposed to be—on the stage. “A CD launch party will be held at the Metal Orgy Fest in Braunau, Austria (Oberösterreich region) in September. We’re working right now on a 20-years exclusive merch design that will be available at the end of March at the Open Airs. We’re playing specially selected Opens airs and festivals like the Bloodstock fest in the UK, SWR in Portugal, the Meh-Suff in Switzerland, [and] the Steelfest in Finland. There will also be a few other events announced. Here and there, we will be filming: there will be a bonus DVD that comes with the new album with backstage footage, the new music video, and a “making-of” studio clip.” The release date for the upcoming tenth album will be in early August around the same time Wacken happens (N: the release date of the album is actually April 2014). “Yeah, Wacken would be interesting and to return [to play] there again this time. I believe, we were there in 2006 and that was simply just brilliant! Wicked! That was one of the shows that you play and never forget. The global audience there is definitely something else entirely. “

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Surely, Nuclear Blast was not irritated about the delay. However it was said: “Not ideal. But you must be happy with the album—take the time that you need.” Not all artists during hard times experience this kind of support. “Andy Siry, our A&R from Nuclear Blast, didn’t pressure me, he also didn’t after I had to delay for a second time. Nothing from Blast. Because of that, I think of the company very highly.” The older the metal grows, the more frequent sickness and deaths become. The passing away of Chuck Schuldiner and Quorthon, but also the fights Chuck Billy and Nergal gave overcoming difficult illnesses in recent times, have moved extreme-metal. “Obviously, I was preoccupied with such. But one cannot take this into account, that you’ll end up in such a difficult situation yourself and your life is torn apart.” Surely, it’s difficult for someone to discuss bodily and mental problems openly. Those affected must first come to terms with themselves concerning their sudden limitations. “It’s not hard to talk about it, Overall, where I turn up it starts with, “How are you doing”, which is cool. But before, it was “Do you want a Jack and coke or do you want to start with a beer? Or both?” Haharrrrr. Mentally, like physically the whole time was a nightmare of pain, despair, and fear. [It was so] particularly in the first four months, I stopped living—zombie phase.”

Helmuth as a role model and counsel for others affected by illness is an unusual prospect for everyone. “Musicians get sick also. I received a lot of emails, and still more after I was out of danger of dying, that helped me and bolstered me back up on my legs to continue further. I gave myself small goals. The first one was definitely being able to play guitar again.” Until now, depictions of Pest epidemics and other suffering to Belphegor were something historical and abstract. Will Typhus end up a subject in the lyrics? “No, it will not. That shit has driven me to my knees enough already. I still had for about a week after my operation very bad fever attacks and visions. I saw everything that was going on from my place in bed. These five days in intensive care. . .if I had a gun, an alternative there! I couldn’t handle this new situation; I was always strong and in control, specifically regarding my body, my decisions. I had five fat tubes in my breast near the stomach that hung from machines. I lost 12 kilos (26 lbs.) and was simply at the end.” The heart operation, after which Helmuth received an artificial heart valve made of metal to call his own, was not just a consequence of the Typhus illness, “I think I wouldn’t have made it much longer, actually I was feeling really good in the end, but who knows.”

“After six weeks in the hospital, six weeks in the rehabilitation center, I want to thank everyone who had something to do with me—Doctors, nurses, staff. My blood-brother, Barth, who pressured me and brought me to the hospital; and Alexandra, my girlfriend, who stood by me through this hard time and didn’t leave me. Without the both of them, I wouldn’t probably be here. Naturally, also all the people who motivated me and left me “Get well soon” wishes. Half a year before the operation, I had already noticed that something wasn’t right and I was often vapid and tired. But I naturally didn’t take notice of the signs and indulged further in excess. I regret it, but I also don’t, I don’t want a false impression to arise here. I was allowed to see more than others would probably experience in ten lives. A few times in the Intensive care ward—three times—they sent me a priest: in case I would want to confess, pray, tralala, [or] whatever. These born-again Christians, who after one difficult setback get on their knees. Those are the worst sort, those who, after maybe 20 years of boozing  then want to convert people and condemn others and do not grudge the fun they’ve had.”

Setbacks are littered throughout the overall recovery process of the last few months. There was one after five weeks in the rehab clinic. “I took part in all the courses there. There was also a fitness studio [at the clinic], and despite the warnings from doctors, I gave it much too much effort and I spent a few hours every day in there. I was in the clinic for almost 7 weeks and my chest had also been sawed open, so there [in the gym] in some things I was inhibited. There I was then, with an additional program given to me after that with five more weeks added on to my stay [in the rehab clinic]. I pulled a nerve in my back, and I was stuck stumbling around on crutches for weeks. I had extreme pain, and yeah—there were days when I just couldn’t anymore and/or didn’t want to.”

That Helmuth was dealt this challenge and it changed his lifestyle, shows that to him, the bottom line is the music is more important than the image and the partying. Hence, there were few of these moments in which he wanted to completely give up. “I received a lot of positive energy from people, which made it clear to me that the peak [of my career] hadn’t run its course.” There was no Plan B to the music being the purpose of life and the means of sustenance. “I’m still not making big plans now. These Middle Class security net thoughts were never [present in] my way of thinking. Tomorrow someone can crack a goddamn atom bomb open on your skull.” Nevertheless, new rules on tour and in private are now in effect, “Total moderation, more restraint. Everyone who knows me knows that punishment is enough for me.  . .also I really miss my training with the weights, but also [not weight training] keeps me on track. There is no giving up.”

The question remains: will Belphegor be visiting South America again—with a dried biscuits reserve and a canister of mineral water? “Harhar. To date, I’ve set aside all proposals [to play in South America]. It’s not that I blame them—the opposite. It was not smart to drink water straight from the tap in Sao Paulo, but nobody told me otherwise. But that’s all still far away and I’m concentrating now on Belphegor in Europe and we will death-march over everything here.”

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Legacy Mag’s Round Table Discussion with Belphegor’s Helmuth Lehner and Hypocrisy’s Peter Tägtgren

733998_10151383028168893_915499401_n“Total Dictatorship and Submission”

 from Legacy Magazine (DE) 22 of February, 2013: issue 083. (Originally published in German)

                For 20 years, they have both been the alpha-wolves of their bands: founders, front men, guitarists, [and] head composers. Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy) and Helmuth Lehner (Belphegor) have similar skills and visions, but they are different as well. Both have excessive personalities and have stood already with one leg on the threshold of death. [These are] grounds enough [to have] them at the round table [to] further [discuss] similarities. But also to hammer out the differences.

LM: Peter, three years ago you offered Esa and Tomi a listening session in Helsinki at the Round Table, having just stepped onto the then upcoming Amorphis-Japan-Tour.  Now you have produced Belphegor’s new album. How did you persuade Belphegor that you were better than Andy Classen?

Peter: If I remember correctly, I was requested to take the job. I was not that much familiar with their history, but we were both on Nuclear Blast.

LM: Do you remember the first time you took notice of Hypocrisy?

Helmuth: That was in the time of “Obscolum Obscenum”. I heard the band on a “Death is Just the Beginning” Label sampler from Nuclear Blast and was impressed: slow, dark, but extremely brutal! Bands like HYPOCRISY and Dissection brought this Iron Maiden/Judas Priest influence that was an important development for the Scandinavian death metal genre.

LM: How did your communication in the studio continue?

Peter: BELPHEGOR had a very clear vision of what they wanted to achieve and sought only the best possible sound for the album. The song structures were already very sophisticated. So my task was to see to the tone and for that also, to make sure that everyone sounded as good as possible.

Helmuth: Exactly. We rehearse often and are always close to completely prepared when we enter the studio.

LM: Do you need a dominant Producer?

Helmuth:  No. I have so much will and discipline, and can motivate myself when I see that it is necessary. As a musician, you do what you want in the end . You go your own way and make your own decisions. With progressing age, one will be wiser and see many things from a different perspective.

LM: Will this be a new era?

Helmuth: One can never know; expect the unexpected. We value the sound that Peter welded together for us a lot [on Blood Magick Necromance]. In the summer, we’ll let the upcoming album [produced by Erik Rutan of Hate Eternal] out and then we’ll see from there.

LM: Would it be a dream to work once in a U.S. studio in the future like Belphegor?

Peter: No, that would be a step back. With a particular studio, one can split up the work time much better. The current situation is very comfortable. We can take up work when suits us. Flexibility has become in the last year the highest priority for my bands. I also don’t have any dream producers that I absolutely must work with. With this in mind, I’ve built my own studio because one always has to deal with a lot of blablabla from swollen egos. Then, one comes home and the results sound shitty.

LM: . . .2013 will be celebrated as the 20th anniversary of Belphegor. “Bloodbath in Paradise” came out in 1993. Taking a look back, is there any album that you absolutely hate?

Helmuth: “Blutsabbath” is really shit–but because of the sound, not musically. That was 1997 and the producer had no experience with our kind of sound. Like Peter says, the guy stole too much oxygen for his chatter. I learned that then: work with people who have the Know-how and knowledge to make metal with the right sound.

LM: Peter lived in the U.S. in the end of the 1980’s for one year. Could you see yourself temporarily turning your back on Austria?

Peter: Would I want to live in Austria with Helmuth?

LM: Also an interesting vision. . .

Helmuth: Harr.

Peter: I was 18 then. Now I am damn old–who would want to do that again?

Helmuth: For the whole time we were on tour and made our album, and learned to love that.

Peter: But one is always happy to come back home. I need silence and freedom in order to gather myself when I’m working on songs. I can’t compose songs on tour.

Helmuth: Yeah, during tours it’s chaos. Specifically, excess and extreme drinking.

LM: Aren’t you both Country folk? Peter grew up in a neighborhood like Pärlby.

Helmuth: I come absolutely from the country. You can withdraw yourself efficiently, you have silence, in order to store new energy for the upcoming invasions. At the moment, we have over a meter of snow in Abtenau, where our rehearsal bunker is stationed. I still remember well the five weeks that I was in Pärlby. Wonderful pieces of land there above a large lake.

LM: Are there any rivalries in your domain? Do you have to set limits for any of the band members?

Peter: If I didn’t always have the rein in hand, absolutely nothing would happen with Hypocrisy.

Helmuth: Democracy doesn’t function in Belphegor. One person must decide in what direction we’re marching and how we want to reach our goals. It’s like what it is in war. We need many soldiers, but only one General, not the opposite!

LM: Peter called it “Pain as democracy”, as he would be discussing band decisions with himself.

Helmuth: Total dictator, submission, hahaharr. [A] joke. There are millions of opinions and opinions are like assholes: everyone has one. It is not simple to lead a band for 20 years, especially not a band like BELPHEGOR. We are always swimming against the current.

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(Photo Credit: Thomas Adorff, http://www.thomas-adorff.de )

LM: Have either of you any experiences out of the ordinary from the typical hangover stories, like blackouts on stage or writer’s block?

Peter: On stage, you forget every once in a while lyric fragments, but milliseconds later you find them again. For me, writing music is not a problem–it’s more difficult to find the time [to write music]. But there’s much more in life than music to think about. There is also pussy. . .

Helmuth: (laughs dirtily) Metal, drugs, and alcohol–fuck yeah!

LM: Peter, you’ve stated in an interview before that you hate “flowery” sex and tenderness. Helmuth must not have had to give you a briefing in the S&M world?

Peter: No, I’m honest about that, believe me. I am a hedonist.

LM: And in the name of pain. . .do you train your vocal chords before gigs?

Peter: No, I don’t play with them warm. I prefer to get my guitar first when the intro runs. Because [warming up your vocal chords] doesn’t help.

Helmuth: When you’re younger, you need that. But with our schedule you go out to the stage and plug the cable in. But I practice a lot on the guitar, because I simply love playing. The guitar is my psychiatrist and when something doesn’t go well, I go off and shred.

Peter: I have never really trained myself in playing guitar. Actually, I seek to better myself more as a song writer.

LM: Both of you were not singers in the beginning, instead you slipped into the role at the last minute.

Peter: Our old singer (Editor’s Note: later [played] a long time in Dark Funeral) split during a running tour.

Helmuth: Our second singer left us before “Blutsabbath” and I was tired of the entire discussion. Do this, do that. Then I would rather take it all over myself and I can’t complain anymore. I needed a few years before it all worked out. I love singing, you have full control.

Peter: When I’m 60 and screwed, I’ll hang out in the corner and play Blues.

LM: Dan Swanö admitted that he borrowed a Choir passage for “Crimson” directly from Queen. Have either of you already known of a melody or riff and took it simply because it fit excellently in a song?

Helmuth: Peter. . .

Peter:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. . .I’ve determined that so often afterward. Oh shit, this riff is from this or that band. Too late, we’re keeping it. That’s why we’ve thrown no songs in the trash, because one always brings their own particular handwriting to it. Listen to the Blues. It’s always the same shit in different songs.

Helmuth: If anything, I restrict myself to classical composers. Naturally, I have inspirations. Those that must be named are: Morbid Angel, Slayer, and Black Sabbath. One cannot create completely new material, every Goddamn riff has already been played. Technology and sound make many things possible.

LM: Do you miss the old, excessive times or do you celebrate a rebirth?

Peter: I’ve changed absolutely nothing. At the most, I’m more relaxed when I smoke too much.

Helmuth: I had to change a lot. I underwent some quasi-forced-cleansing, but through that I didn’t mutate into a born-again, shitty Christian.

Peter: I’m not dependent, Simply, I’m always willing to party–that’s a big difference.

Helmuth: I’ve always worked out–even on tour, and I did still much more drinking. Rock music and excess go hand-in-hand. No artist who was not on drugs, alcohol, or whatever there was, has ever created something noteworthy. In earlier times and now. Most of the classical composers were sons of whores from the finest.

LM: Do you regret any mistakes?

Peter: Sometimes one regrets decisions, but one doesn’t look back anyway, instead they look forward. There are many songs or also productions from me, that are–from the present day’s point-of-view–shit, but were in some point in time the best that I could do.

Helmuth: I don’t focus so much on songwriting, rather [I focus] more on atmosphere and intensity. Bettering oneself is always the Master Plan, as instrumentalist, as a band. When Peter says that he never practices, I can never imagine that because he’s an excellent guitarist. I have no idea how he does it–maybe he’s very talented? Respect!

LM: Would sudden deafness be grounds for suicide?

Peter: Should I lose my hearing, the possibility would be tremendously big that I would become a pro-drinker. No, seriously: I wouldn’t be walking on the edge anymore. Considering  this[going deaf], it doesn’t matter whether I drink a lot or a little, as long as I enjoy my life.

Helmuth: It would be enormously difficult for me to live without music. I’m listening to music all the time, actually, naturally not just Death and Black Metal. Recently, Motörhead, Rolling Stones, The Who, and Kiss “The Elder” were in the player. And I love to create music myself.

LM: What would be grounds to give up on the band?

Helmuth: When my good health no longer lasts. If I no longer could give 100%.

Peter: For myself, if PAIN and HYPOCRISY were to disband, I would continue to write songs. It would simply open a new chapter [for me].

Helmuth: [To Peter] But that would be hard, right?

Peter: Definitely.  But when one doesn’t feel comfortable in a band configuration you perceive everything as an agony and you want to storm off in a different direction, this [going a new direction] is better than being pissed off for the whole day. That could happen to me someday.

LM: BELPHEGOR lyrics heavily contain German lines. Peter, the only Swedish title one can find from you is on “The Abyss” debut, “The Other Side”, right?

Peter: That would definitely make no sense, the language doesn’t sound [good]. Of course, I’m imagining right now the Swedish Cook from the Muppet Show, [and] how he would sound screaming over a 250 BPM blastbeat.

Helmuth: I like to scream in German. We use that on every album here and there. It is damn heavy and sounds simply like Soldiers who are marching into the war. Latin [is] the same: blasphemous and archaic–a Belphegor trademark.

LM: A similarity between you two is definitely your diabolical pleasure from blasphemy. When did you determine that [blasphemy] is more than a “fuck you” rock ‘n roll attitude, and instead a primary pillar of your art?

Peter: With Venom 1980, “Welcome to Hell”. . .music, I’d already heard before I could crawl, and I wanted already in that time to be up on the stage. But Venom were in that time simply the most brutal sound that one could imagine.

Helmuth: Rebellion was always important for me already. It hit me during the course of my first extreme concert experience: Slayer in Munich, Deutsches Museum, during the “South of Heaven” tour. That was in the year 1989 around-abouts, with Overkill. Brilliant, good memories. My musical taste evolved from this day forward, and would then become more brutal, along with my guitar playing. Sigurd, the second founding member, left the troop around 2006 for reasons of health. He brought much of the “Fukk you all” mentality attitude in the band. The anti-religion stance came from ourselves , inspired by where we live, to drain everything right and conservative from [where we live].

LM: Would you produce a band with offensive, Christian texts?

Peter: No, I still haven’t gotten a request from such a band, except for Belphegor.

Helmuth: Höhöhö. . .

LM: For a while, you [Peter] were also the tour guitarist for Marduk. Do you still feel  familiar with the other members [of Marduk] even though you’re no longer taking part in the band?

Peter: We had a great time with each other in the studio, just as we did on tour. It would definitely be cool to simply get up on the stage again and not have to think about the usual guitar playing.

Helmuth: Peter, we’re looking for a second guitarist.

Peter: Nah, Marduk doesn’t need [a second guitarist]. Oh, you’re talking about you guys? I’m there. Fuck HYPOCRISY. (smiles)

Helmuth: Goat. . .

LM: Is there a band that means so much to you that you would enjoy providing temporary help or even permanently stepping in to a role in the band?

Helmuth: In a temporary situation, yeah. Man, if there existed some. Slayer for example.  I play very dynamically [and] powerful. I wouldn’t put it past myself though.

LM: Would you ever as a producer suffer through unprofessional musicians with out-of-tune instruments?

Helmuth: No.

Peter: As a producer one is everything: Mentor, Psychologist, and Sound Engineer. One tries to appease the bands, and with that they’re not making huge mistakes out of nervousness. One shouldn’t handle these people too hard. It is hard work to bring something to light, especially when one can rush an individual musician, there’s more to give.

LM: Part of your customers have furiously abandoned the Uni-sound Studio because Swanö edited unauthorized flawed recordings [played by musicians other than those in the band].

Peter: I’ve had to do that sometimes. . .whether I play the bass or someone else does, it doesn’t matter—as long as the person playing the instrument has his photo on the cover. In the end, it doesn’t matter, the album just has got to have the best performance and best sound that an album can have.  If a bassist instead of any of the other three members visit at the same time, it is damn hard for it in the end to maintain a good sound.

Helmuth: That would never happen to me. I don’t let any strangers on my guitar parts. Preparation is everything. If it doesn’t work practice-practice-practice, or stay home with mommy.

LM: Are there songs or albums in the earlier Belphegor history that you feel the actual material was hobbled due to the technological capabilities of the time?

Helmuth: We always have particular tracks through which we absolutely try to overstep boundaries, where we know that there will be a fight in the studio [in order to do so]. But it’s very important to support oneself and the band. Some like it, others don’t. Kiss my ass.

LM: Peter, the KISS-fanatic would gladly hear that.

Peter: I’m definitely no longer as preoccupied with them. KISS were phenomenal in the 70’s and partially in the 80’s, and then afterward they were damn rotten. In that time extreme music came into my life. But I do still collect KISS Memorabilia. I’m interested only in the earlier makeup phase, and today [collecting] isn’t really a hobby for me. But I have great childhood memories with all the posters and records from my youth.

LM: What was the beginning of their end for you—the disco taboo-breaching “I was Made for Lovin’ You”?

Helmuth: With that song I got on board. I immediately went out and got myself the “Dynasty” LP. Back then that was the most extreme that there was, KISS and AC/DC. Sikk.

Peter: Right. You’ve already explained that. In that time, I was nine and considered it “cool”. But sometime later I had to rethink that.

LM: With their macabre and erotic lyrics and cover photos, Belphegor have felt the whip of censorship. Have there also been objections against Hypocrisy’s work?

Peter: Only from the Label side, also with Pain. Hypocrisy had a song in 1992 called, “God is a Lie” and they attempted to get us to change our minds and change the title to “God is a. . .” Since “Penetralia” was our first album, we didn’t want any quarrels from breaking the bridle, so we gave in. (Editor’s Note: The previously mentioned title can be found on the “Inferior Devoties” MCD and the “10 Years of Chaos and Confusion” Double album.)

Helmuth: The whole business is full of restrictions. Haha, I remember back when “The Last Supper” came out, what fun we had with the cover etc. Everything overflowed against the barricades. We pissed on the leg of each and every one.

Peter: Today, if someone were to submit such a proposal this would be my answer: Lick my ass. Then I would just go to another firm. There are always people who want to have things as harmless as possible and [these people] want to live in la-la land. One has to make their mark.

Helmuth: We always had problems with the Mainstream. That means, we’re doing something right.

LM: “Infernal Live Orgasm” was released in 2002 by the former label, “Phallelujah”. Is this a pattern for the future?

Helmuth: It is almost impossible, because one has to pour in a lot of grit at the forefront. At the time [of the release of ILF] that was ten years after the band had begun and we wanted to celebrate that. But nobody wanted to release that album with the cover, the photos, and the attitude within.

LM: Has the Metal Scene lost its spirit?

Peter: No, we were only younger back then, and the music that came out was better. Today, there are two trillion metal bands worldwide. One gets what they earn. There reigns a fast-food and Drive-in mentality. For me, it means that since over 20 years ago: I must, I must, I must. And I enjoy going on-stage, traveling, and writing songs. I can’t do anything other than that. I’ve said often that I would leave this shit-business in a heartbeat, if I had an alternative. But without music, I would go completely insane. It’s not just fun and partying, one must also surpass themselves with every new album. Sometimes, I notice in hindsight, that I [haven’t surpassed myself] with some efforts.

Helmuth: All the stuff having to with metal has become really big. On the one hand, there are things that are good, but naturally there also are always a lot of clones that come along with it. The exchange of ideas of bands is a farce. As long as I hear nothing new, I’m not interested.

LM: The last word belongs to you guys.

Helmuth: Fukk the church.

Peter: (Laughing) We won’t be fucking any churches here, more like in the church. But I’m too old for that shit.

Helmuth: Me too.

Links:

Belphegor:

http://www.belphegor.at

http://www.facebook.com/Belphegor

https://twitter.com/_belphegor

Hypocrisy:

http://www.hypocrisy.cc/

http://www.facebook.com/hypocrisy

http://twitter.com/hypocrisyband

Legacy Magazine (Germany)

http://www.legacy.de/