Wallachia - _Wallachia_
(Velvet Music Intl., 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (8 out of 10)
I do not envision my main man Vlad Tepes, supreme bad-ass of Wallachia, as a particularly mellow individual. I mean, supposedly this guy impaled the country folk by the wain-load. In truth, the ceramic deer and clay gnomes that populate America's front yards today are but the feeblest echoes of my man Vlad's lawn ornamentation... In much the same way, the Hollywood vampire legend is but a pale simulacrum of the historical reality which inspired Bram Stoker's gothic potboiler. So one wonders: how will this band portray the ambience of the old stomping grounds of the man of the millennium, Vlad? The answer is that they've opted to go the mellower route. (For the grittier version, savor some '95 vintage Behemoth, won't you?) In fact, Wallachia reminds me a great deal of Summoning. The sound: an oceanic esoterica, where grim vocals float eerily atop seas of smoothly-surging synth and guitar, stirred by mellow programmed beats. This is neither as compositionally dense nor as sonically innovative as Summoning's best material, but I still find it quite enjoyable. The guitar and synth are about evenly prominent; the melodies: simple, somber, and slow. (Fans of Gehenna's _First Spell_, take heed.) A touch of eerie distinction is provided by the strange vocals, which lend an edge of real extremity to the music while differing a bit from standard underground styles. There are four songs here, and the whole thing is over in about twenty-nine minutes. The production is crystalline. The band is from Norway. The man, the legend, is Vlad.

(article published 16/10/1997)


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