Century Media – Out Now.
As someone who has been actively supporting extreme Metal bands for the last thirty or so years, I am both pleased and proud to find genres such as Thrash, Death and Black Metal in such rude health of late.
If I am to be really honest with you, however, I often find myself wishing that I could turn back the clock for a few hours and witness my sixteen year old self sitting in front of a turntable with his mates and losing himself in the glorious sounds of albums such as “Seven Churches” and “Hell Awaits” as the feeling of listening to these classics fresh out of the oven was simply priceless.
It is while going through such a phase that, for better or worse, I began listening to Vampire’s self-titled debut release.
Even though Vampire hail from Gothenburg, the navel of the Death Metal world, the aim that these four young Swedes share is to create music that is harsher and far less pleasing to the ear and to achieve this they look towards bands like early Slayer, Possessed, Celtic Frost and Mayhem for inspiration.
Now, I am sure that you all agree that even the idea of competing with such legends would be a step too far even for the most charismatic of young musicians, so what Vampire have tried to do is incorporate elements from the music of these greats into their own and give them a 21st century polish. Was the experiment successful?
“Vampire” is the product of a young band, both knowledgeable and passionate about the style of music that they have chosen to serve and that adds warmth to the ten compositions on offer.
The fact that end product is not always something unique could be attributed to inexperience, but that would be a tad unfair as there are not many classic riffs left for any young band to introduce themselves.
As things stand, songs like the opener “Orexis” and “Howl From The Coffin” will attract every 80s extreme Metal fan, regardless of any genre affiliations, while those of you in favour of groove should check out the Celtic Frost inspired riffs of “Jaws Of The Unknown”.
If you feel a bit let down by the quality of tracks like “Ungodly Warlock” and “The Bestial Abyss” there are moments of intense drumming and guitar wizardry in “Black Deserts” and “The Fen” that readdresses the album’s balance, leaving the up-tempo Thrasher “Under The Grudge” to provide the album with an interesting piano-adorned closing theme.
So, about the album’s rating: even though new and exciting musical ideas are lacking, the ones on offer are of an honest nature and performed with the passion needed in order to convince you of the band’s noble intentions.
Don’t get me wrong: I still think that improvements must be made in both technical and compositional terms but, as far as debut releases are concerned, this is a pretty decent one indeed.
Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)
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