WAMPYRINACHT – Night of the Desecration (2022)REVIEW

Wampyrinacht was one of the first projects directed by Necrolord (Naer Mataron, Αχέροντας) a fine guitarist who’d been a part of the equally deep-underground act Tatir circa 1994-1995, an era which we can tangentially consider the second generation of Greek black metal wherein the melodic ideas from the north and the success of the first generation began to influence spiritually driven, oft esoteric artists. The early lineup of the band was technically a sextet for their first song/single “The Darkest Sunset (Elissaveta)” in 1996 which’d end up as part of Side B on their debut 12″ EP ‘The Cloven Hoof‘ in 1998, wherein the vital personage in the lineup at that point had been Necrolord and keyboardist Mantus whom is best known for Empire of the Moon and a short stink in Vorphalack. The style of these first recordings are very much in the spirit of classic Greek black metal but also neoclassic influences upon black metal in general at the time, featuring compositional tidiness and consonance you’re likely find in releases from Nergal, Acherontas or even just (early) Old Man’s Child when considering the guitar work alongside a perhaps more atmospheric/gothic affect in Wampyrinacht‘s case. It’d be another two decades before we’d hear from the project again.

The magnum opus and great work from the band thus far is arguably the release that’d marked their return. ‘We Will Be Watching – Les Cultes de Satan et les Mystères de la Mort‘ (2017) is the sort of album I could (and did at the time) draft pages of appreciation for, a finest example of an artist picking up ancient ideas and wielding them with far, far greater vision and capability. Consider it the ‘epic’ majesty of Hellenic black metal ideals extended to a more steady attention span wherein we get more than the quick fangs of cryptic phrases and instead enjoy a litany of discourse within longform melodic black metal pieces. The leadership of these events was the same as in their humbler beginnings, wherein Necrolord‘s guitar arrangements serve the major voice and melodic device of each piece with some exciting non-linear thought interjected as a sort of turn of phrase. Could they top the time-and-place of this accomplishment in my mind? This second full-length from Wampyrinacht, ‘Night of the Desecration‘, certainly had a hill to climb on my part but I believe this album exists in parity or higher preference on most all counts, improving certain aspects whilst carving away a few of the more naïve-yet-‘classic’ elements such as the focus on keyboard/synth aided atmosphere. Nonetheless, the result is an elite melodic black metal album, an morbid and imposing presence with a certain predatorial intelligence behind the eyes.

For the sake of not mystifying the eye and forcing search engine results I’ll refer to reborn Auctumnus, the man of many names, as Necrolord for the duration of this analysis. Now an integral part of likewise reborn Αχέροντας as Naer Mataron goes on eh, hiatus for… reasons, we find inspired collaboration with vocalist V.P.Adept (drummer Dothur also features here in session) and perhaps more time in general to generate notable ideas for Wampyrinacht as the main practical rationale for a follow-up from the project. This denotes a significant change to the main lineup as I’ve found no credits for Mantus herein and as such a different style arisen which is decisively guitar-driven and more prone to experiment with various vocal incantations. “Thorns for my Damnation” thrashes in with a shattering, rapturous presence displaying brief contrapuntal foreshadowing of the larger melodic shape deployed within the openers initial rise, continuing to harvest a black melodic and thrashing attack within the main riff amidst various speed metal guitar-theatric tangents. The explosive solo around ~2:09 minutes in with its soprano accompaniment having already sold me on a primal level, I’d already been well-impressed before the choice to land all-too classic integration of Marche Funèbre into the song. This song speaks to death directly, setting the mood amidst the otherwise provocative and infernally summoned rock guitar attack otherwise.

The centerpiece, the test of the shrunken-headed goon’s ear, and the glory of ‘Night of the Desecration‘ rests upon the success of the sinister progressive rock dominated opus and title track (“Night of the Desecration”) wherein spoken intro turns to gaunt and melody-sidled narration before the sprawl into heavy rock’s sky-opening tension gives way to distorted Hammond-esque keyboards, violins and a slow-building black metal fire, which does not ignite until the last three minutes or so. Though my initial reaction to the intro was entirely unsure to start, once I’d immersed into second and third full listens it’d all sunken in as both remarkably fitting in tone as well as a sort of surprising ‘epic heavy metal/hard rock’ refrain that acts as scenic change for the album’s mood. It is a bold and over-the-top sort of choice that is rare within black metal today, something daring and unorthodox that only built fealty as familiarity grew.

Most of the album’s pieces from that point on emphasize a melodic black metal style which is not conditionally bound to Hellenistic black metal orthodoxy, such as the stunning advance of “The Church of Thorns”, a piece which avoids becoming lost in the usual repetition or slight modulation we find in much of black metal’s riff-lite economy today. This intelligence of riffcraft identifiable by ear within each of Wampyrinacht‘s releases rears its head somewhere in the middle of the full listen and at the very least we find some compositional precedence in this piece (as well as “Hammer of the Angels”) that can be identified as far back as 1996. Though it doesn’t make any too-obvious gestures to fit into the idolized sound of Greek black metal just being a bit against the grain is enough to warrant some mention, there is plenty of precedence in their discography for these works and yet they’ve found a path forward that speaks to singularity. The full listen has a few hiccups for my own taste, a few too many interludes which’ll likely make more sense ‘in scene’ once I’ve gotten the lyrics in hand, but the overall effect is strong-built and bears an emboldened sense of identity. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Night of the Desecration
LABEL(S):Iron Bonehead Productions
RELEASE DATE:May 13th, 2022


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