Vltimas — Something Wicked Marches In
The term 'supergroup' has been thrown around a lot over the decades, and with varying degrees of accuracy, but I don't think there's a serious argument against applying that descriptor to Vltimas. Featuring Rune Eriksen (AKA "Blasphemer") of Mayhem fame, along with ex-Morbid Angel vocalist David Vincent and Cryptopsy drummer Flo Mournier, this is an all-star extreme metal line-up without a doubt. (Even if the band isn't crutching on this fact, or even going out of their way to mention it.) There's always a concern that in projects like this, one member will dominate the material, or you just have everyone lending their trademark absent nuance or diversity, but Vltimas manages to avoid these pitfalls.
I was expecting a blisteringly fast, technical death metal record, and was instead rewarded with a really varied album that blends all of its members stylistic differences into a unique sound of its own. There moments of intense, 1000 BPM blast-beats, but they're sparse and brought in at choice moments for maximum effect. A lot of the material on Something Wicked Marches In is at a much slower tempo than anything you'd get on a Mayhem or Cryptopsy record, verging into doom territory at times like "Last Ones Alive Win Nothing." David Vincent's old-school death metal voice, with its clear enunciation and menacing — but not cartoonishly evil — tone fits perfectly with the instrumentals. Flo Mournier showcases his versatility as a drummer, laying down slower, nuanced rhythms in lieu of the relentless cacophony of percussion he's typically known for.
Right out of the gate, the title track sets proper expectations for the rest of the album. Eriksen's riffs are thick and crunchy, flowing seamlessly from one passage to the next. There are the expected tremolo runs — as one would expect from a black metal veteran — but the material hews closer to traditional death metal. On the last two Mayhem records he contributed to, Eriksen's song-writing was more meandering and sprawling, while the material on this record is much more focused with traditional song structures. The lack of bass is something that I didn't even notice until I checked the album credits; the guitars are heavy and massive enough that the low end is still well represented.
Something Wicked Marches In is a really tight set of tracks, and an offering quite distinct from the other projects members of Vltimas have been involved in. I've never been a huge fan of David Vincent's vocals, but I really like his work on this record. Likewise, it's nice to hear more restrained, varied drumming from Mournier. Lastly, "Blasphemer" contributes some excellently savage riffs, but also showing the range in his capabilities as a guitarist and the closing track, "Marching On" showcases some of his best lead work — and even a tasty solo. This record is far more than some talented musicians merely lending their name, this is a well constructed, quality blackened death metal album.
A powerful debut offering from extreme metal super-group Vltimas, Something Wicked Marches In expertly combines aspects of black, death, doom and even bits of traditional heavy metal into a brutal, engaging record. This album is just under 40 minutes of quality metal from some of the genre's most established veterans; nothing is phoned in, the performances are great and the production is clean without being overly noticeable. Vltimas stands apart from its members other projects, while still retaining their distinctive qualities. A great debut album from a project I want to hear more from.
Release date: March 29th, 2019
Record label: Season Of Mist
David Vincent — vocals
Blasphemer — guitars
Flo Mournier — drums
- Something Wicked Marches In
- Total Destroy
- Truth And Consequence
- Last Ones Alive Win Nothing
- Diabolus Est Sanguis
- Marching On
Published: April 3rd, 2019.