Vircolac – The Cursed Travails of the Demeter (Review)

VircolacVircolac are an Irish death metal band and this is their debut EP.

This is a band that have been firmly influenced by the old-school. It’s classic-styled death metal that firmly puts the emphasis on songs and atmosphere, as opposed to mindless speed, technicality or similar such stuff.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; do we really need another old-school death metal band? Well, believe it or not, but Vircolac are actually a different proposition than most. Here is a band that are doing something a little divergent with their sound. Or, I suppose more accurately, channelling a lesser-channelled aspect of old-school death metal than some of the more obvious ones.

So how do they do this? Well, it’s all about the atmosphere and feeling.

Vircolac seem to know how to write a good guitar part. Apart from some very good riffs, I also like how they suffuse the entire work with an almost subtle sense of melody, inflecting it with atmosphere and mood in addition to the baser riffs. It’s an interesting and engaging skill they have and it instantly makes them a more interesting proposition than a lot of similar bands.

Added to the above, the inclusion of subtle keyboards and effects merely enhances this atmospheric feeling. Vircolac are a band that are every bit as much about creating feeling and mood with their music as much as they are about providing some compelling brutality. More so in fact, actually, as the former outweighs the latter. I view this as a good thing, as anyone can grind out some basic brutality, but creating and sustaining effective atmosphere is a lot harder to do, and on this release this is what Vircolac successfully achieve.

These are advanced-level songs, which is especially impressive considering how new the band is. Vircolac take in old-school Morbid Angel influences, swamp them in atmospherics and emerge from their crypt armed with songs that should make any metalhead worth their salt stop and pay attention.

Very highly recommended.

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