New wave of old school death metal anyone? OK, we’ll not tie ourselves up in genre knots here, but like fellow Swedes Tribulation, Vampire don’t look much past the 1980s for inspiration, and their goth-tinged, retro-powered take on extreme metal is reaping souls far and wide.
Why? It’s the sheer quality of their songwriting, the passion behind each riff, the combination of youthful exuberance and vintage class. And while their self-titled 2014 debut made the world take notice of the Gothenburg outfit, it may be this follow up that propels them to bigger stages. One listen to the urgent, deliciously vicious Midnight Trial, for instance, or the armour piercing riff-storm of Initiation Rite, and you’re right there in the front row, shaking your fist, splattered with beer and dripping with sweat.
There’s an immediacy to Vampire’s work that’s often lacking in modern heavy metal, a focus on the visceral power of the riff, an understanding of how to weave supernatural melodies into a bloody tapestry: closer Scylla is perhaps the best example of this, but throughout this record, the whiff of black magic is in the air.
Perhaps the additions of new drummer Abysmal Condor and a second guitarist (Sepulchral Condor, if you’re asking) have helped the band to sharpen their fangs, or maybe With Primeval Force was always lurking within Vampire. In the end, it doesn’t really matter: this album will transfix and delight you, before it moves in for the kill.