Written by: Beaston Lane
Frigid rain falls through the canopy of a Scandinavian forest as the clearing fog reveals two opposing armies, each with unbreakable faith after paying tribute to their gods. A natural ambiance thicker than fortress walls separates the warriors as they each anticipate their leader’s call to charge. What I’m describing isn’t necessarily the beginning of a medieval battle, rather the vivid atmosphere that introduces Vampire’s mighty third record, Rex. This feeling of anticipation builds during the interlude entitled “Prelusion,” and at its sudden conclusion, the armies charge as the carnage of Rex is unleashed upon us all.
Rooted in mythology, Rex is a hellish journey through chaos and serenity. Juxtaposing high-octane thrashers and sneering mid-tempo odysseys, the album showcases the band’s versatility and highlights the demonic vocals of Hand of Doom, the lead vocalist. Existing at the intersection of classic thrash metal, melodic death metal, and modern black metal, Vampire is a three-headed monster which utilizes these influences to create an engrossing and unique listening experience. While not every song can boast of being truly memorable, Rex is a bold statement from a young band destined to continue their ascension through the metal ranks.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
If the cover art of this death metal split doesn’t pique your interest in the tiniest bit, then are you really a fan of the genre? Death Fire Darkness is a three-song split effort between Sweden’s Inisans, and Sepulchral Frost. The former has been together for a little while now, dropping their debut in 2018, while the latter is a more recent group hailing from the turn of the decade. Together they offer up about fifteen minutes worth of new chops, while each side takes an aesthetic of its own.
The A-side holds two of the three tracks, both by Inisans, as their music in general is a bit more straightforward death metal cut from quicker-processed material. Not a second of “Holocaust Winds” is anything short of compelling, dropping rhythms that capture horrid energy. Gradients of noisy leads blend with the pummeling wall of drums in intricate patterns, retaining an identity of its own. The second track, “Circle Of The Serpent,” follows it up from the same bottom idea, but focuses more on intense speed, delivering the classic Morbid Angel-like artillery.
Alright, brevity seekers. Here's the rub. Embrace the Void, the debut(ish) album from multi-continental death metallers Gravefields, is a damn fine record. Thus, I'll employ a reversal of sorts: let's get the critical stuff out of the way quickly, and then proceed with the pummeling--err, of the good variety.
Firstly, the vocals could stand to rise a tad higher in the mix. And secondly, the runtime breaks the Sleeping Village Rule o' 44. With a sound so gloriously belligerent on the ears, the final few tracks leave less of an impact after Side A's goliathan entrance. Am I nitpicking? Yes. Am I finished nitpicking? Also yes.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!