Vampire – Vampire (Century Media)Thursday, 13th March 2014
Remember the days when the word vampire used to be cool? Long before the days of Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries, the creatures of the night used to actually strike fear into the hearts of mere mortals instead of making teen girls salivate. Well, score an overdue victory for the bloodthirsty fiends because this is one Vampire that hasn’t lost its bite.
Owing as much to bands like Exodus and Slayer as they do to Death, Celtic Frost, and Autopsy, Sweden’s Vampire (hard to believe that no one else had claimed that name yet) make good on their debut by keeping things retro yet modern enough not to turn off those tired of the endless parade of new “old sounding” bands. Upon listening, it’s clear the boys have done their homework, but influences alone doesn’t make for a great album does it? Further enhancing their approach is the usage of some nifty NWOBHM solos that are sure to treat your ear, occasional blackened punk attitude a la Darkthrone, and some dark acoustic moments (see “Ungodly Warlock”) to break up the onslaught of riffs.
The shining star, outside the varied influences, are the riffs of Vampire. Whether it’s the thrashy, uptempo riffing of “Under the Grudge”, undeniable groove of “Howl From The Coffin”, or the melodic soloing of “The Beastial Abyss,” there’s bound to be something to keep any death/thrash fan’s interest through each of the tracks. There’s also a subtle atmospheric feeling to some of the tracks. The darkened atmosphere of “The Fen” stands out as one of the album’s best moments in this regard.
Vampire is the real deal for retro-death that even pessimists may enjoy. Shifting directly from one demo to being brought aboard a major label like Century Media is no easy feat. Vampire have shown their worthiness with this first effort, and one hopes that they only further improve upon the formula with offerings to come.