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Vampire - "Vampire" (CD)

Vampire - "Vampire" CD cover image

"Vampire" track listing:

1. Orexis (2:40)
2. Howl from the Coffin (4:01)
3. At Midnight I'll Possess Your Corpse (2:43)
4. Ungodly Warlock (3:50)
5. The Bestial Abyss (5:41)
6. Black Deserts (2:57)
7. Jaws of the Unknown (2:50)
8. The Fen (4:46)
9. Cellar Grave Vampire (3:08)
10. Under the Grudge (4:09)

Reviewed by on March 11, 2014

"Vampire may be a new addition to the Swedish metal pantheon, but the group’s sound is decidedly old school."

Vampire may be a new addition to the Swedish metal pantheon, but the group’s sound is decidedly old school. Despite what the name and logo might imply, there’s nothing Gothic or symphonic about this self-titled disc, and instead it sees the newcomers mixing together the black/death side with a huge thrash sound.

Surveying the metal landscape, it’s not hard to see why a retro, “return-to-form” type sound is in high demand, with so many modern metal outfits blending in ‘core or pop and a horde of groups that tack the word “post” on their genre. “Vampire” gives a hearty “thanks, but no fucking thanks” to all that and creates a sound that’s old school without being primitive.

There’s an appropriately muted production in keeping with the throwback themes, and the vocals feature a heavy echoing effect, coming out of the background of the music and working as an instrument on its own. For the most part it works, and the only real downside to this form of attack is a repetitive assault on the drum front. The blasting beats are fairly standard on most of the album, and the way the vocals are delivered doesn’t leave much room for range or even lyrical understanding.

The guitars however, avoid those problems entirely and tend to stay very fresh throughout. Even though “Vampire” is by no means an upbeat release, the guitar work remains energetic and engaging. Changing up the formula a bit, “The Fen” sees the guitars switch over to an atmospheric acoustic strumming, and “Black Deserts” offers up a rocking melody that creates an unexpected black ‘n roll tune.

For a debut album, Vampire’s self-titled consists of incredibly strong material that works a metal head’s nostalgic desire for the past while still trying out a handful of new things. If you dig bands that blend death and black with thrash – like Destroyer 666 – then pick this one up.

Highs: An old school sound that's not overly primitive and throws in a few curve balls.

Lows: There's a good deal of repetition in the drumming and the vocals don't have much range.

Bottom line: Black/death and thrash collide in a retro look at metal that doesn't totally let go of modern aesthetics.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)