Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vulkodlak - Vulkodlak - Review

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Well if I'm going to be honest I was somewhat dreading this review. An American Black Metal band's demo, just those words, American Black Metal, scares the shit out of me. While Black Metal is my favorite sub genre  the American brand has never excited me. Of course there are a few USBM bands I enjoy, Xasthur, Sothis, Judas Iscariot, December Wolves, and so on. But in the vast spectrum it's VERY rare for me to get into USBM.

Vulkodlak, Is from Birmingham Alabama, and this is my review of their self titled demo. I found out about this band via my first interview on this site none the less. The singer of Gorephanage is the drummer here. And one of the main points behind this website is to get the name of some underground bands out there. 

The demo starts off with the track, Bewitching the Pious. and the first thing That really stands out is the production and sound. Really a throwback to the first wave of Norwegian black metal, with a healthy mix of the spirit of the early second wave. Necro sound is very much in effect here. It could be the fact that it's a self released demo, or it could be purposeful. Well I'm loving the kvltness here so let's hope it's the later.

For the second track we have the self titled, Vulkodlak. We have a blazing fast intro then it slows down a but and coasts by. Might even be as bold to say as it has a few "Doom" inspired riffs here. Enjoyable in the very least. 

The third track we have, As the witch consumes. This is more than likely going to be my favorite track on the album. Awesome energy in the track and just the right tempo. Fast as fuck! 

And to end the demo we have the track, Rites of the equinox. One of the slowest tracks, Honestly this sounds like it could be on an early Immortal album. Tight playing all around and the vocals are the real highpoint of the track here. 

Vocals are good, I'm feel a healthy mix of Urgehal and early Dark Funeral in the vocal delivery, and that's not a bad thing at all. The vocalist here has a great sound to his voice, I won't go as far as saying its "Unique" but I am enjoying performance. 

Guitars have an obvious thrash influence to them, and also some early Bathory/Mayhem nods in there as well. Tight guitar playing, enjoyable to listen to. and while they have some nice riffing I feel the guitars are lost a bit in the mix. Would have enjoyed them more if they were more prominent in the mix. I feel they are fighting a little bit here to be heard. 

Bass is oddly audible the entire time. Fucking rare in this genre and especially demos! Very nice to actually be able to hear the bass! and he's doing some good work back there as well. Decent sound and not overly distorted like the majority of USBM bands are infamous for. 

Ok now time for the drumming, I can tell you that the drummer is skilled. He knows how to play the drums and plays them well. But it's the drum sound they have here on the demo. Which is my biggest beef with the entire thing. They are a bit to high in the mix, and have a slight "echo" to them which I'm not digging at all. Just slightly overwhelming In the mix. 

All in all I was very surprised to like this demo as much as I did. With a few tweaks and nudges with the mixing on any future works they do I can say I will be looking forward to it. 

I'm going to give this a decent score for a few reasons.
1) They may be USBM. but they have a Norwegian spirit about themselves. 
2) Regardless of the mixing problems I've stated. this was a very well done demo. 
3) The Lyrical content really tickled my pickle. 


Keep an ear out for these guys. With any luck they will get picked up by a decent label and at the very least bring some Norwegian soul back into the otherwise dull and boring United States Black Metal scene. 


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