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Here it is another Vlad Tepes release, release of the band that is so praised in the black metal underground and so on… I must ask myself again – why??
Firstly I will try to avoid judging this album by production, because then I could finished my review already and gave it 0%. So I will try to focus on music or if I say better, the music I was able to hear.
All songs are much or less built around few riffs and some other apparently improvised parts (for which other fans claim that are not). I expected that this riffs will be something amazing, but they are far from that. I don’t have a problem if they are so simple, actually almost all good black metal riffs are. But these riffs are really basic and average and far from being original. They would be something special if they would be recorded ten years sooner maybe. But not in the year 1994. It looks that people forget that black metal was already very alive in this times. So I don’t see what makes Vlad Tepes so special. I will not even discuss further more about vocals and drumming because they are both very mediocre.
There is really not much to say about this album. There are some better demos from Tepes discography but they also aren’t something special. And they absolutely aren’t worth of money that people spend on them.
Vlad Tepes are always kinda strange and surprising to me. Despite their association with all that is grim and kvlt about Black Metal, their songs (ignoring the terrible production) are all fairly melodic and quite entertaining to listen to. This album is no exception to this rule (which is good, because this 'rule' on the one other Vlad Tepes release I have), and to me that's what this album is: Some solid black metal, lots of good riffs, terrible production, nothing less and certainly nothing more.
The production isn't as bad as the other release I have, but it's still fairly bad, with everything real fuzzy and muddied up, terrible sounding cymbals, and a mix which somehow manages to bury everything under everything (Guitars are too quiet, Vocals are too quiet, Drums are too quiet. Weird..). But yeah, there's some terrific songs here. War Funeral March is the hugest riff-fest ever, with some good riffs in many varied tempos. Vlad Tepes really excel at mid-paced, really crunchy riffs, that seem to be very un-black metal. Not that I mind though. From the Celtic Moonfrost has one of the most terrible, cliched BM titles ever, but it's a bit faster and a total barn stormer. Most of the other songs follow this formula- fairly fast but not [i] that [/i] fast, which is nice. There's some interesting lead breaks too, some which are really, really quiet, but they're still real nice, like the brief but excellent solo in Returning to my Old Battlegrounds.
I imagine most metalheads will love the riffs, but the vocals are a lot more of an acquired taste. They're loud, really abrasive and quite disturbing. I hated them at first, and while I don't love them now, I have to admit they're real powerful. Not too many BM shrieks here folks, it's mostly some real vicious growling. The drums are really quiet, and there's not much you can say about them, but they keep the riffs flowing along, and I don't see what's wrong with that.
This definitely isn't the most insane Black Metal maelstrom ever. Instead, we have a collection of great riffs and some real solid ideas buried under a thick layer of fuzz. I don't think it's worth buying on E-bay, but if you can find this to download, then get it, it's really quite good!
If you've read any forum that has a decent number of black metal fans, undoubtedly you've heard of Les Legions Noire- a few black metal bands from France that are unbelievably "kvlt", who's albums are next to impossible to get and horribly expensive, and are supposedly excellent. And Vlad Tepes is one of those bands. If you're curious, and thinking of spending way too much money buying a bootleg of this album on eBay, let me save you the money- this is at best mediocre in every conceivable way.
Simplistic mid-paced riffing is what this album is all about. This alone is not a bad thing, many excellent artists have built masterful works based off of ultra-simplicity- Ildjarn, Darkthrone, and Beherit just to name a few. However, in all of those cases, the ultra simplistic riffs give off an essence- whether it is the completely feral nature of Ildjarn, the hypnotizing evil feel of Darkthrone, or the downright nightmarish ambience of Beherit. All that the riffs on this album can muster, however, is a vague feeling of darkness and aggression- which one can turn to any number of bands to get. There's also a few absolutely terrible guitar solos in here. Occasionally, a riff tries desperately to be "epic", but when compared to the likes of Graveland or early Enslaved, fails miserably.
There's not much to say about the structures- not verse/chorus, but not put together in such a way as it's going to help the whole. They're just sort of there.
The drumming is terrible- sometimes the typical simple beats, but sometimes totally unfitting "bouncy" drumming, playing remarkably tepid fills every once in a while. Nothing to see here, folks.
Vocals are sort of a low to mid range rasp. Nothing spectacular, nothing terrible.
The production is god-awful, but if you wanted clean production you probably weren't considering this album anyways.
In conclusion, if you really want a LLN album, download "Remains of a Dead, Ruined, Cursed Soul" by Mutiilation- it's excellent. Don't get this. It's not worth the time it takes to d/l it.
I love this fuckin album!!! What we have here is raw, cold, ugly black metal with heavy metal influence and some melodic guitar work in places. The production is actually not terrible, as with some of their other stuff, but it is still raw as fuck.
The vocals are shrieks for the most part. The drumming is actually pretty decent. There are even guitar solos throughout the album that remind me of some 80's metal. Behind the cruddy production these are some pretty good musicians here, but they don't flaunt us with fancy fills and virtuistic playing, but put their heart and soul into the simple riffs present here. Everything flows together very nicely. At times it sounds improvised, but this is probably not the case, as the song structures are actually worked out as it would seem.
I'd definately recommend this album, but don't pay ridiculous prices for it on ebay.
Here we have the demo from French (Black Legions) band Vlad Tepes, released by Full Moon Productions. The very first thing I thought of when I popped this in was "wow... the French Absurd". I really don't see how people don't make mention of this more often. It doesn't have a very "evil" feel to it (especially compared to their other releases and things such as Moevot, Torgeist, and Mutiilation that also spawned from this movement) and is actually quite upbeat. The riffs are very simple, but do not come off sounding boring or unoriginal- quite the contrary. The dual vocals are basically unnecessary, because at times they end up sounding annoying, especially considering that neither of them were very talented vocalists at this time. I'm reminded of the dual vocals on Absurd's Werwolfthron at times.
Production-wise, I think this is one of the better LLN releases... it's pretty clear, but does not lose that raw edge.
To end this, it's a good demo to get if you're looking for odd and youthful black metal, or if you like what you heard from this band on other releases.
Back in the early 90s, a group of grumpy Frenchmen formed a sort of circle of bands and projects that became quickly renowned for their abrasive, unstructured music and very underproduced sound, as well as for a true spirit of anger and misanthropy that few people could recognize but which became quintessential to real black metal at around this time. Vlad Tepes is, along with Mutiilation, undoubtedly the most well-known of this elitist circle. "War Funeral March" was originally a demo cassette, but it was released on CD more recently and thus might possibly be easier to locate than other VT releases.
It's also, I'd say, the most polished sounding of all the Black Legions' output. In this particular case, that's not saying much, but unlike some of the other recordings, this does sound like it was done with some decent equipment: everything is perfectly clear and defined, if a little muffled and grainy, there's not much background hiss and the drums sound pretty well miked. Where this is really raw as hell is in the actual playing of the instruments, which seems kind of haphazard, purposefully so i'm sure. Nevertheless, one can hear clear melodies at work here, solos, nice vaguely heavy metal sounding riffs and some pretty neat harmonic ideas. One gets the feeling listening to this that Vlad Tepes are actually capable of some musical prowess, but they don't necessarily care to show it, preferring instead to compose music mostly on the spur of the moment and not fix mistakes. The fact that the drumming is sometimes slightly off doesn't phase them a bit, they just keep on ripping through these sometimes surprisingly rock-based black metal tunes. Yes, though you'll have a hard time getting some people to admit this, Vlad Tepes literally rock; and it's clear that they love their metal and are not really concentrating on being cold and atmospheric. There is a little less of this "rockism" on the split with Bellketre, but it is still there, mostly in some clear homages to Celtic Frost. The vocals are the ugliest element in this mixture, as they seem recorded over the rest of the music sometimes at random, with dual attacks all over the place, multiple screams (so that at times it sounds like a trio of demons are screeching in ecstasy) and fluctuating volume. It's hard to really pick stand-out tracks here, but I think the song "War Funeral March" gets additional points due to its awesome slow, ominous ending section. "Returning To My Old Battlegrounds" also has some great riffs, now that I think of it, and a nasty squealing metal solo.
Obviously, not for those who value high musicianship and classy sound over all else...but those in the mood for something a little more vitriolic and real in the black metal genre might want to give this a try. It's very short, too, so I can't see how boredom would be an option.
This is the first serious demo from Vlad Tepes. It's nowhere nearly as good as "March To The Black Holocaust," but then again I doubt the band could ever top that anyway. If I could use one word to describe the music presented here, it would be "ugly." The sound of the music on this demo is so raw and corroded that it might be inaccessible to many "casual" fans of the genre of black metal (that is to say, the ones who can't listen to Darkthrone because "waaaaaah the production is terrible booooo I want my Soilwork"). It reminds me of Ildjarn in the way that it's underproduced and seems rather improvised (although I know it's not). Along with Ildjarn, I would probably cite various American black metal bands and some punk music as influences upon Vlad Tepes. Vlad Tepes has a very "energetic" feel that seems to be lacking in most black metal bands. They don't seem to sit around and contemplate the "perfect song" for hours at a time; they're more spontaneous than that. Everything seems to flow naturally with this band. The music is very well above average, but not perfect. If you can find it on ebay for less than $4,000, I'd recommend getting it.