If I had a dollar every time I was pitched a blazingly brilliant announcement about metal’s newest “supergroup,” I’d have enough to overpay for one of those VIP Kiss experiences on their very last tour… until their next very last tour. Sometimes supergroups work, but let’s face it, most times they don’t. So when I first read that former Mayhem guitarist Rune Eriksen was going to team up with Morbid Angel’s esteemed past vocalist and bassist David Vincent, I was pretty excited but somewhat skeptical. Then I continued to read on that Cryptopsy’s Flo Mounier was going to the drummer…. heart racing… “please let this be great….”
I heard the first single released off of Something Wicked Marches In, “Total Destroy!” a few months back and I thought to myself, “ok, this is really, really good, but can they put together an entire record like this…” After listening to Something Wicked for a good 25 or so spins now, I can safely say that the answer is “HELL yes!”
How does this record, with three legends of extreme metal sound overall? Honestly, exactly how you would THINK it does with these three particular individuals. It is so evident, in every single song, that these guys stuck to their influences and styles but also worked so diligently to blend them together. The listener is treated to a mind-blowing sonic experience that they’re not going to forget and certainly can’t ignore.
If you told me back in 1992, when I first got into the metal industry, that I’d be listening to a record that was able to blend the Norwegian Black Metal scene’s tremolo guitar with Florida’s swamp searing brand of death metal, I’d say you were crazier than someone who believes Ozzy will never tour again after his 10th “No More Tours” Tour. This record really and truly is a fusion of the two styles and that fusion – the glue that holds this together – comes by way of Mounier’s drums.
This fusion yields a sum greater, however, that is far greater than its parts as VLTIMAS demonstrates to us on literally every track. Every one. Eriksen’s flurry of dyads and minor chords gives a strong nod to his days in Mayhem, which is immediately noticeable and evokes that late 90’s feeling from the northern sky. His guitar is unmistakable, as is Vincent’s voice. There’s no let up in either on this record and Mounier is given a great deal of freedom to come up with novel approaches to elevate both guitar and bass in the compositions.
While this record struck me pretty hard on the first listen, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more with every subsequent listen. Songs like “Diabolous Est Sanguis” have a lot going on in them and I’m still discovering new sounds the more I hear it. Same can be said for “Something Wicked Marches In.” In fact, there are sounds in that mix that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before in any metal song.
Lyrically, this record is a bit different than both Morbid Angel and Mayhem. That’s not a bad thing, and this also helps differentiate VLTIMAS from members’ past bands. When you put the lyrics to the music and get the full mix blasting through your speakers you are given a heavy dose of something entirely unique.
VLTIMAS’s Something Wicked is not just a new record from industry vets. VLTIMAS is legitimately breaking new ground and taking an awful lots of risks while doing it. Indisputably, however, these risks so clearly pay off. And though 2019 is very young, this record is assuredly going to go down as one of the year’s best… if not THE best. I can only hope VLTIMAS does some heavy touring here in the US because I can’t wait to see these songs performed live.
Something Wicked Marches In will be released on March 29, and it can be pre-ordered now. Order it. For real. You’ll thank me later.