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Dunkelmind – Vlad: The Trilogy Award winner

Dunkelmind
Vlad: The Trilogy
by Mark Machlay at 30 March 2021, 6:47 AM

The Madrid-based symphonic metal band DUNKELMIND – meaning “dark mind” in a mixture of German and English – formed in the early months of 2011 between drummer Javi P. “Wande”, keyboardist Ali M. Rivero and vocalist Edu Vazquz. Soon after, they began hunting for a guitar player after already laying down some basic demos and developing a full concept of what their music would become. Jose Garcia came on board, able to add some personal touches and help further grow the seeds for the band, but ultimately would leave before the end of 2011 due to personal and work scheduling conflicts. Guitarist Andrez Lopez would join the trio in March 2012 adding a baroque sound and instrumental prowess. After a few failed attempts at securing a bass player position, Albert Pinto from CASTILLA was invited and became a permanent member after a few months in 2013. By July 2013 the band decided to finally publicly release their work and “Memory”, their first 5 song EP was unleashed on the Spanish metal community. Unfortunately, after several years with the band, Pinto would leave in September 2016, replaced by Rail Villameytide. They expanded their EP and released the full-length “Memory II” in May of 2018. Sometime later, Lopez would also leave in September 2019, being replaced by Abraham Vadillo on guitar.

Though the band seems influenced by the European metal trends of bands like AVANTASIA, DARKMOOR and LACRIMOSA, they are also taking influence from concept albums similar to those of American bands QUEENSRYCHE and MASTODAN, with their next work about the infamously brutal Vlad the Impaler with “Vlad: The Trilogy”. It’s presented in 6 chapters divided into 3 parts celebrating the life and enigmatic myth of Vlad Tepes on his way to becoming Dracula, arguably the most renowned vampire in history. Part 1 encompasses tracks 1 and 2 entitled “The Warrior” illustrating his time as a warrior prince of Wallachia while living under the shadow of the dragon.  Tracks 3 and 4 make up Part 2 “The Pact” depicting the myth of his immortality and conversion into his vampiric via a pact made with the legions of evil. The Final two tracks – “The Immortal Prince” – regale the listener with tales of his time as the immortal prince of darkness.

Honestly, you can’t get much more grandiose or epic than DUNKELMIND’s presentation of this long infamous myth. While it is firmly in the genre of symphonic metal, there are certainly moments of power metal and progressive metal thrown in as well. Unfortunately, there really isn’t nearly as much music as you might think across three tracks but what you do get leaves quite the punch and by the time you realize you’ve finished it, you’re ready for the 7th “bonus track”. This track is all the others combined to form “Vlad-Legend Version”, all the tracks uncut, obviously in the way it was intended to be presented and frankly, I was ecstatic to listen to them all again. The first tracks of each of the three parts is really intended to be an intro to the main course, the three track punch “The Shadow of Dragon”, “The Pact” and “The Immortal”. I love the interplay of both the male and female vocals, showing the war in the soul of Dracula very well. At times it can get a bit “video game boss battle” sounding but if you’re firmly on the side the Castlevania video game franchise with its creepy, yet intriguing baroque organ, you’ll love this. Unfortunately, my only problem is that I wish there was more meat to chew here. The instrumental interplay between the keys, orchestra and guitar was nothing short of breathtaking and it seemed like it was over before I was ready for it to end. Hopefully DUNKELMIND are hard at work on their next baroque concept album because there flashy symphonic gothic style is nothing short of amazing.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dragon’s Roar
2. The Shadow of the Dragon
3. What is the Monster
4. The Pact
5. Blood is the Life
6. The Immortal
7. Vlad – Legend Version
Lineup:
Edu Vazquez – Vocals
Abraham Vadillo – Guitars
Ali M. Rivero – Keys
Raul Villameytide – Bass
Javi P. “Wande” – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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