Contrary to popular assumption, I am not much of a metal head. Sure I’ve always got a bit of Carcass or Morbid Angel on my phone should the mood take me. I will defend Slayer’s Dittohead against all snipers and celebrate Carcass’s later material regardless of the grind elites scorn. But my explorations into ‘proper’ underground metal screeched to a halt around ten years ago. I had reached a point where I decided I simply couldn’t be arsed listening to much heavy music anymore. I was exhausted and it didn’t move me one way or the other and instead I fully indulged my appetite for twee/disturbed female singer/songwriters instead. Judge away.
Despite slowly succumbing to late 30’s apathy, I still like to check in on what friends with stronger stomachs than I are producing and every now and again something savage like Sacred Ritual or Moloch or Venom Prison grabs me by the throat and demands my attention. With that spirit in mind allow me to introduce Dublin’s Vircolac….
I am not up to date on what qualifies a band as black metal, death metal, doom metal or anything else these days. The boundaries between sub genres seem to be in a constant state of blur and flux to an outside specatator like myself. Vircolac appear to draw upon elements from all these niches and more to conjure their foul alchemy.
Codex Perfida’s brooding atmospheric intro with its spartan piano sets a grim funeral tone from the start, and reminds me of the vibe established on the early My Dying Bride stuff. It succeeds in being haunting and unsettling without descending into a cheesy attempt at being ‘dark’ for the sake of it Confessio breaks the mood and wades into the fray and for me is the stand out track on the demo. The guitars are jagged and dense whilst the bass and drums have some proper heft and conviction to anchor the whole thing.
It’s a filthy recording that succeeds in welding together an appreciation for classic death metal with a sneering punk rock attitude and the crushing weight of atmospheric sludge. The ragged vocals compliment the bands venom perfectly, a rabid, visceral attack. One of my issues with a lot of modern metal is how compressed and sterile the recordings often sound. It is highly likely that I am simply not hearing the good stuff these days but Virolac actually sound like there are real, fierce human beings beating seven shades of shit out of the instruments rather than a pre-programmed/ tightly edited barrage of crisp drum tracks and relentless vocals. There’s some character here. Vircolac’s lupine assault is rough around the edges in a good way, a rebel howl in the metal wilderness that leaves me gagging for more.
I have been rinsing this demo all day and it’s just not getting old at all. Vircolac have found their way onto my playlist, and are presently nestled comfortably between Velocity Girl and Watain. I mean that as a total compliment. Fantastic band, hope I get an opportunity to witness their savagery over here sometime soon and I’m excited to see what they come up with next.
Listen To Vircolac HERE