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Vircolac - Masque Award winner

Vircolac
Masque
by Liam Easley at 17 April 2019, 2:35 PM

From the old school Death Metal revival trend comes VIRCOLAC, a four-piece from Ireland with a strong AUTOPSY influence. Last March, they released their first full-length, “Masque”. The first thing I’d like to point out about this album is its structure. The better songs are not grouped together, but they are spread throughout the release. In fact, the first song isn’t even one of the highlights. While “Titan” hooks the listener in, it isn’t until “So I Hang from a Wretched Tree” when I see the true potential of this band.

Titan” starts the listener off with groundwork. It lays down the riffs and shows what VIRCOLAC is all about. Later in the song comes a Halloween-esque breakdown that has a very eerie melody. Again, it isn’t the greatest track on here, but it has my attention. The AUTOPSY and PUNGENT STENCH influence is very clear, and this stays constant throughout the album. The two highlights on this album for me are “So I Hang from a Wretched Tree” and “Snake Among Man”. The former of the two starts with a clean intro that is a reoccurring theme throughout the track. Later in the song comes a very well-written breakdown that carries the song to a finish. It stars with a jumpy clean guitar riff and transitions into a heavy riff that plays with time signatures.

Snake Among Man” starts dissonant and quickly becomes heavy, filthy Death Metal with technical flares. The melodic riffs spin around while the song goes in and out of different ideas, all of which fit in the track. The most interesting part is the jumpy lead-work near the end of the track. It fits in perfectly with the eerie yet technical sound this band has going for them. VIRCOLAC excel in songwriting, and the previously mentioned tracks are not the only examples of this. “Masque of Obsequious Venality” starts off clean before becoming distorted. After a while, the distorted guitar and clean guitar have two separate parts played at the same time, giving the music depth and an even darker feeling. “The Long Trail” and “End of a Beginning” have good depth as well.

The old school Death Metal revival scene has never been my favorite, but 2019 seems to have some very good albums in this field so far. VIRCOLAC made one of these albums. “Masque” is dirty, raw Death Metal with production that is good enough that one can even hear the bass. This album hits hard and it never relents. Do not sleep on this; it will crush you.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Titan
2. Tether & Wane
3. So I Hang from a Wretched Tree
4. Masque of Obsequious Venality
5. Snake Among Men
6. The Long Trail
7. End of a Beginning
Lineup:
NH – Drums
Laoghaire – Vocals
BMC – Guitars
JK – Bass
Record Label: Dark Descent Records
     


Rating

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Edited 18 July 2019
 

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