Supergroups are a funny thing, I always feel like they go either one of two ways. Either they are a positive collaboration of talented individuals or they are a somewhat manufactured ensemble thrust unwillingly upon the world. I think this divide often exists due to such bands being placed immediately upon some sort of pedestal. Where many bands have to work years to gain recognition these artists merely materialise atop festival line ups and larger venues in a sort of unfair battle of popularity. Nevertheless they can offer up some real talent and even something new and exciting.
So we come to speak of a new supergroup, Vltimas. The band consists of Rune Eriksen of Aura Noir, ex-Mayhem and ex-Nader Sadek fame, Flo Mounier of Brutal Death Metal legends Cryptopsy and last but not least one of the forefathers of Death Metal David Vincent ex-member of the unholy Morbid Angel. With that starting line up you can see there is a wealth of talent on display and also a wide range of influences. Black Metal, Old School Death Metal, and Brutal Death Metal collide to create Something Wicked Marches In, the bands debut. Yet will this be an almighty blistering new age for the Metal underground or a collaboration too far?
The opening titular track introduces us to the overall sound of this album, Black Metal riffs that are sprinkled with Death Metal elements and speedy, ferocious, modernist drumming and clearly pronounced aggressive Death Metal vocals that bring a perfect addition of memorability to this Extreme Metal banger. I think that it’s safe to say that each members influence is truly felt within their respective field. From the outside looking in one might expect a cacophony of horror in the most dismal light, however it is safe to say that this album leaps from strength to strength bringing about a really pure sound that is neither Black Metal or Death Metal or for lack of further confusion Blackened Death Metal. This release is undeniably unique in its relentless output of Extreme Metal anthems.
Speaking of anthems Total Destroy, Monolilith, and Marching On really stand out as barbaric bludgeons of grotesque impurity. The violent Black Thrash based guitars provide the perfect setting for David Vincent’s vile shrieks of anguish. There is an almost preacher like feel about this album that I haven’t really heard since Behemoth’s The Satanist, a sort of shouting annunciation of triumph that fills the listener with pride and energy. Prior works from the respective members aside this debut shows a lot of promise, a new pasture for those involved and a strong sound that is sure to be welcomed with much praise.
Is Something Wicked Marches In faultless? Obviously not, after all there are very few albums that are, but the faults within mainly lay in some tracks simply not having the same level of hooks as others. Yet this can be remedied via several replays which after your first listen you will surely anticipate. One feature of this release that I really respect is its combination of underground Metal genres. It doesn’t lean toward either side of Black or Death Metal with any sort of bias. I think at its heart I would likely label it as Death Metal but it’s an interesting mix that will surely catch the attention of many a Metal fan.
(8/10 George Caley)