Whether you like this style of metal or not, Vampira: Disciple Of Chaos will not fail to grab your attention. It is the debut album from self-proclaimed ‘Intergalactic’ death metallers The Beast of Nod. To put simply, these guys are shredders, and proud of it. Their enjoyably unique sense of adventure shines through in every note of Vampira: Disciple of Chaos. If nothing else, it’s an astounding debut and a whole-hearted antithesis to boredom and pretentiousness within the realms of technical death metal.
And to quash any doubt around the sci-fi persona of this band, there is indeed something extremely futuristic going on from the outset, to the credit of the album’s production methods. Those guitar harmonies in the opening track “Prison of Ice” are very effective. And once they kick in, your next opportunity to breathe will not arouse until the final song comes to a close.
But “The Vanishing Commutator” is where the band’s brazen originality really comes to pass. The mildly eerie key changes and the substantially low-end riffs evoke a true sense of action and excitement, particularly when the stop-and-start breakdowns kick in. Henceforth, you begin to feel a geniune sense of vibrancy within the music which, at least in my own case, conjured a profound sense of gratefulness for their efforts.
And the heavy, chuggy dimension to The Beast of Nod‘s ensemble is further abundant in the excellently titled third track “Potroast the Rhinoman”. And I think now would be a good time to address the vocals. ‘Interesting’ is definitely the most objective description. I don’t think I’ve ever heard snarling quite so, er, snarly before. And I’m certain it’s not something easily accomplished. But I suspect, as is often the case with guttural vocals, that this may be the great divider of the album. That’s not to say that it isn’t unique, and it’s used in relatively sensible proportion to the other vocal ranges heard across the record, so respect is certainly due to vocalist Paul Buckley in the long run.
The fourth track, “Ripped Off Face II: The Cape of Faces” is one of the centerpiece numbers and pretty apt in its song title, with a particularly bold main riff that’s reminiscent of a caffeine-ladled Strapping Young Lad song. Also for our listening pleasure amidst Vampira: Disciple of Chaos are some faintly Van Halen-esque guitar effects. They work surprisingly well in parting ways for the more low-end onslaughts, as exemplified perfectly in fifth track “Behold!… but Beware the Celestial Cetaceans!”
The band’s sense of adventure manages to further captivate us in “T.C.T.W.A.D.M.L.C. (The Cybernetic Tiger with a Dorsal-Mounted Laser Cannon)” which probably has the most impressive shredding and a pleasant beefy breakdown to boot. We then get a cataclysmic main event in the form of “Vampira Infernalis”, with some smooth shredding, dramatic progressions and ample heaviness. And believe it or not, the pace does finally slow. It comes right at the end in the form of “The Phoenix Nebula”, which takes on a more In Flames kind of tempo. Okay, so it ain’t that much slower. But it’s something at least to bridge the gap between the quick-witted insanity of this record and the comparatively drab normality of our everyday lives.
There is a constant teetering between the technically enthralling and the far-fetched. But ultimately, Vampira: Disciple of Chaos is made with such charisma that there is really nothing to fault in this record. The Beast of Nod have exercised a refreshing array of fun and madness that’s a real payoff for the listener. One can only hope these guys stick around for the long term. The future seems bright with this new outfit in tow.
Notable Tracks: “The Vanishing Commutator”; “Ripped Off Face II: The Cape of Faces”; “T.C.T.W.A.D.M.L.C. (The Cybernetic Tiger with a Dorsal-Mounted Laser Cannon)”
FFO: Aepoch, Inanimate Existence, Beyond Creation