Sunday, September 26, 2010

Belfegore – A Dog Is Born (Pure Freud, 1983)

Well, this is refreshingly different.

Belfegore began life in Dusseldorf as a part of the Neue Deutsche Welle (German New Wave) movement in 1982. A Dog is Born represented the debut for this German outfit and a wildly divergent album it would prove to be, ranging from the relatively straight-forward Goth sound of “Glashaus”, through the surprisingly upbeat and poppy “Herz Atmetr Echos”, the slow and dream-like “Ridiculous”, the strange punkiness of the title track, and the surprising funkiness of “WOW!” through to “Der Fall Des IQ” which is not that far removed from early period Einsturzende Neubauten. The album closes with the vocal chaos of “Tod Durch Die Blume” which reminded me of Nick Cave’s screaming on “Release the Bats”, although my long-suffering partner was rather less kind in suggesting it perhaps sounded more like The Munsters on crack.

Electronic and industrial sounds abound throughout the album, likely in part a legacy of keyboardist Walter Jaeger’s earlier association with Die Krupps. More surprising is the appearance of funky slap-bass at several points throughout the album. Common sense suggests that this kind of instrumentation should be counterintuitive on a Goth album and yet Belfegore somehow manage to pull it off without inciting the listener to rip the album out of their stereo in a fit of blind funkaphobic rage.

A self-titled second album would follow the next year which was reportedly leaning much more towards an industrial sound, before front-man Mikel Claus apparently decided he’d had enough of the music business and made a rapid exit stage left, by some reports under less than gentlemanly circumstances.

In short, a Dog is Born constitutes a fascinatingly odd album, and one exciting enough to ensure that anyone sufficiently immature as to snigger at how much lyrics to the title track may sound like “a doggy’s bum” will be immediately banished from sitting at the adults’ table and sent straight to bed without any pudding. 

Track Listing
1.Mensch Oder Gott
2. Glashaus
3. Herz Atmetr Echos
4. Deutsche Mark’n Bein
5. Ridiculous
6. A Dog is Born
7. WOW!
8. Schattenwelt
9. Der Fall Des IQ
10. Tod Durch Die Blume

Line Up: Meikel Clauss (vocals, guitar, electronics), Charly T. Charles (drums, backing vocals), Raoul Walton (bass, backing vocals), Walter Jaeger (keyboards, bass).

(Under no circumstances should Belfegore be confused with Austrian Metal band Belphegor who, with albums like Bondage Goat Zombie and Infernal Live Orgasm, seem likely to offer their own, albeit unusual, concept of entertainment.)


  1. Bastard!

    I often plan my posts out a few days in advance, and tomorrow's post is "Tod durch die Blume!" I was even thinking of asking you if you were gonna cover Belfegore on here!


  2. Consider it my petty revenge for all the nasty-pasty things you've said about Specimen, The Sisters and Goth in general to me over the years

    I wait with baited breath to see if Lightning Jukebox comes down in the Nick Cave or The Munsters on Crack school of thought.

  3. Well, Specimen . . . uh . . . um . . .

    OK, I do like the song "Alice" by The Sisters of Mercy. I seem to remember liking some other really early ones, too, before they went all Meat Loaf.

    Herman Munster vs. Nick Cave? Hmmm . . . more Nick-ish, I'd say.

    Speaking of Goth, have I ever discussed Alice Texas with you? It's contemporary (i.e., this century) and really more Gothic than Goth, but would appeal to some Goth fans (esp. those who like, say, The Gun Club).

  4. I don't think you've mentioned Alice Texas to me, although the name is not unfamiliar. Speaking of the Gun Club, a little something in the offering soon for Patricia Morrison fans, just as soon as I get this internet shaping thing lifted.