Wallachia – Monumental Heresy (Debemur Morti)Tuesday, 3rd April 2018
Previously, the rub with Norway’s Wallachia was that it was a one-man band turned full unit, with main dude Lars Stavdal installing full-time members for 2012’s Shunya. Said album had a lot working for itself, namely, a confluence of several black metal iterations (avant-garde to symphonic, all the way to straight-line Norwegian BM) thrown into one body of work, something that is reflected again on the band’s fourth full-length and first in six years, Monumental Heresy.
Stavdal and gang work the symphonic angle a bit harder here, as evidenced by the gang-busters “So We Walk Alone,” a certifiable triumph in the form of would-be male choir vocal action, dominant synths and waves of melodic guitars, all threaded through the familiar confines of extreme black metal. The thread continues on “The Prophets of our Time,” where Wallachia do battle in mid-tempo-ville, parlaying those crisp, sea-faring synths into a seismic plunge into the depths of epic black metal.
But as was the case on Shunya, Wallachia likes to reverse course. “Silenced No Longer” serves as the album’s true-to-the-core cut, a nihilistic battering ram of blasts, while the over-the-top “Beasts of the Earth” finds the band at its most extreme, thus, ramping up the tempo and Scandinavian riffing.
As Monumental Heresy continually turns over (see “Returned Favor of Abandonment” for acoustic guitars, too), so goes Wallachia and their ever-morphing sound. It’s usually of detriment when a band can’t land on a particular style, but, for Wallachia, their versatility and fuck-all approach to black metal ultimately serves the band well. If anything, it puts the “monumental” in Monumental Heresy. (Okay, we’ll stop.)