Album review: HOLTER – Vlad The Impaler

Frontiers [Release date 09.11.18]

Born as a one-off musical extravaganza by Trond Holter (ex-Wig Wam) and singer Jorn Lande, the ‘Swing Of Death’ album met with favourable reviews (fellow GRTR! reviewer Phil Berisford rated it an impressive ****1/2). So much so that Holter toured the Dracula Rock Opera and now we have a follow-up, although no Jorn this time around.  His place is taken by Nils K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind), who is joined by fellow vocalist Eva Iselin Erichsen, with the rest of the band consisting of Bernt Jansen (bass), Per Morten Bergseth (drums) and Erling Henanger (keyboards).

Nils K. Rue is a good fit for these songs of bombastic power metal, heavy on the riffs and keys – Erling Henanger’s playing adds greatly to the overall atmosphere of the album. Although it does miss Jorn’s unmistakable vocals and menace that he added to the debut, Nils isn’t bad at all and the album really works well when he duets with Eva Iselin Erichsen, notably on the lead track ‘I’d Die For You’. Like a power metal Meat Loaf tune, sterling stuff.

Not to be outdone Eva Iselin Erichsen has her own time in the vocal spotlight, including ‘Shadows Of Love’, a real Savatage meets West End musical number.

Tying in with the debut we have ‘Save Me Pt. II’, another duet and Nils certainly sounds a lot like Mr Lande on this one. Plus it is the one song that allows Trond Holter to show off his impressive playing.

I am sure there will be enough ideas for another Vlad inspired album – we could even have a vocal sing off with Jorn coming back!

A solid and enjoyable album, that whilst never quite reaching the heights of ‘The Swing Of Death’, will certainly satisfy fans of that album and Holter has hit on a good vocal partnership of  Nils K. Rue and Eva Iselin Erichsen. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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