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Walpyrgus | ‘Walpyrgus Nights’


A few years after their promising demo, North Carolina’s Walpyrgus have come galloping out of relative quietness with this, a decidedly hook-filled debut album.

That demo was quite something, easily reaching the kind of quality that was expected of a band extending out of Twisted Tower Dire, that classic swords and steel group having been dormant for the best part of a decade now.

This time around though, there’s an audible push for more catchiness and big melodies – something the band set about with togetherness and impressive verve on ‘Dead of Night’.

The key to this transition is vocalist Jonny Aune, the smile almost audible as he belts out ‘She’s traipsing through the crypts again…” on ‘The Dead of Night’, an opener that takes all of forty seconds to hit a soaring chorus – before cartwheeling away through galloping rhythm.

Earlier tracks hinted at an approach for Walpyrgus that marked them as relatively removed from their “parent” band.

It’s not hard to understand why.

Lead songwriter and guitarist Scott Waldrop has undergone his own personal revolution recently, and there’s an ease and, dare I say it, fun aspect to these songs that makes lashing them on pretty compulsive.

Uncompromised

Nowhere is this most vibrantly brought to life than on ‘Dead Girls’, which sounds as indebted to the Misfits or even Alice Cooper as much as anyone. It’s a great, hook-filled tune – not indicative of the album but perhaps indicative of it’s freed spirit.

The group haven’t compromised for a moment on the aesthetics though, as ‘Walpyrgus Nights’ dives into a series of tales concerning haunted, cursed and outright demonic women.

The sumptuous looking comic book that accompanies the physical version looks like a very rich thematic addition.

Harder, more metallic fare is brought to the table on the rock-solid ‘Lauralone’ and mischievous ‘Palmistry’ (“My mild superstition!”), again with the black scenes being painted by the golden-lunged Aune.

It’s great to hear Aune really command these songs.

Longtime Twisted Tower Dire acolytes may have doubted his almost-sweet delivery on the (frankly excellent) ‘Make it Dark’, but the man is in control and kicking hole here.

On the outro to ‘Somewhere under Summerwinds’, he practically smacks the listener over the head with his ability, intoning the song title from low groan to falsetto high, before pounding out a different style altogether on ‘Dead Girls’.

Indeed, the group haven’t slouched in chopping, changing and infusing life into every track. Snappy, varied drums, flashing solos, and the regular appearance of warm, will o’ the wisps synths all add to the fun.

If you’re looking for pure steel, hard and true, then you’d be better off looking back at Twisted Tower Dire’s excellent earlier work.

If you’re looking for the sound of a heavy metal band spreading their wings just a little bit – and getting wrapped up in horror stories and pushing for earworms – you’ve probably found your album of the year in ‘Walpyrgus Nights’.

Better with every listen, it’s the sound of a veteran band casting off the shadows of the past, letting loose and producing some absolute bangers.

4 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 15/08/17



4 Comments
  1. Good album, still getting into it. The demo was great. Would be cool to see them over in Europe at some stage. Is Tom a full time member now?

  2. Good album, still getting into it. The demo was great. Would be cool to see them over in Europe at some stage. Is Tom a full time few now

  3. Dónal McBrien Says:

    Metal album of the year, this has been getting constant spins since it came out.

  4. Extremely enjoyable album, you just wanna listen to it again and again.

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