Thursday, June 8, 2017

Album Review: Walpyrgus - Walpyrgus Nights

One of the things I continually harp on is that metal is not often fun anymore. Bands from all across the genre take themselves deadly seriously, and they treat the idea of their fans enjoying themselves while listening to the music as an insult. Art is not allowed to be entertaining, it seems, which makes it refreshing when something like Walpyrgus comes along. This collective is one that says if metal is a feast, they want to be the fondue pot at the end of the night. In other words, this is horribly cheesy old-school metal that is so tongue-in-cheek it pushes your mouth into a smile.

Walpyrgus is an amalgum of Twisted Tower Dire and While Heaven Wept, which indicates right off the bat that what we're getting is a blend of various old-school heavy metal sounds focused through a slightly progressive prism. Unlike the brooding gravitas the latter band trades in, Walpyrgus is all about having fun. This is the sort of project that refreshes the artists, since it's enjoyable to kick back and make music that's enjoyable to both play and listen to, which does make me wonder why the heck they can't make their main bands that way.

Anyway, it's hard not to find this album charming. "The Dead Of Night" opens the album up with some classic metal guitars, a hint of Slough Feg in the riffing, and a chorus that piles up melodies in a way that is cheesy while trying not to sound too cheesy. I wouldn't mind if they had gone full-blown in that direction, but this works well enough. Even if a song like "Dead Girls" doesn't have as strong a hook as I would like, the quick bouncy track is still able to put its three minutes to solid use. The punk influence is something different to bring to the table.

"Walpyrgus Nights" falls into that category of album that is all too common. It's a fun listen, and it's all quality stuff, but none of it rises up to the level of being great. There are good songs, and it's a good album, but that's all it is. I was hoping and waiting for a song to come along that would be that one jewel to shine and make the others more valuable by association. That song didn't come.

Instead, we get a svelte album that does what it sets out to do; have fun. It's a nice little throwback to the old days of heavy metal, and it's certainly a solid way to spend forty minutes of your time. That being said, I can't say it's an album that I'm going to be drawn to return to again and again. Walpyrgus has done something good here, so let that be the main takeaway.

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