Lord Vigo – Danse De Noir Review

Even a cursory glance at the band details for Germany’s Lord Vigo ought to tell you that this trio of dudes likes having fun. They take their band name from the villain of Ghostbusters II and each band member likewise goes by a pseudonym from the Ghostbusters movies (“Vinz Clortho” plays drums and sings while “Tony Scoleri” and “Volguus Zildrohar” split guitar and bass duties). Beyond that, the intro of album number three Danse de noir is called “The Voight Kampff Situation,” and features not the last of a series of re-recorded scenes from Blade Runner. A couple interludes even do a fake Vangelis thing to add to the vibe.

Release date: April10, 2020. Label: High Roller Records.
Of course, the band plays a form of old-sounding, epic doom full of slightly folksy melodies and lumbering tempos. It carries shades of bands ranging from Bathory (think the Twilight of the Gods era), Solitude Aeturnus, and the Dio and Martin eras of Sabbath. This isn’t necessarily what you’d expect from a band obsessed with Ghostbusters and an album about Blade Runner. Add in some vocals that manage to communicate vulnerability without sounding outright weak and a rather unconventional production – washes of keys, bass that is pretty high in the mix, and fairly artificial sounding kick drums – and you have the makings of a quirky record.

But Lord Vigo earns their quirks using the most convenient tool: good songs. Besides, the quirks and imperfections only serve to give the record a ton of character and personality, and what do we say about personality, class? That’s right, it [leads students] “GOES. A. LONG. WAY.”

Danse de noir crams a fair amount of variety into its 45 minutes, while also offering enough little details to keep things spiced and fun throughout. The record is equal parts downright rocking (“Between Despair and Ecstasy”), distant, sorrowful, and mysterious (the quieter parts of “As Silence Grows Old”), and unabashedly triumphant (passages of just about every song). It doesn’t shy away from the Bathory/Manowar bombast – if anything, the atmospheric production shows how much the band wants to lean into that element – but also speeds up at various moments with some Maideny harmonies. Basically every song also nails the impact of its chorus as well—there’s an infectious nature to this one.

As for the spicy details, most also serve to amplify that aforementioned personality. It might be a pronunciation quirk (“the shoulder of O-reeee-ohhhhn”) or particularly addictive, callback bass line (one of the main hooks in “At the Verge of Time” is too reminiscent of “The Sign of the Southern Cross” to be a coincidence). It also might be a quick scream, an extra wavering bit of vocal vibrato, or emphasis on keys over guitars for texture. Whatever it is, Lord Vigo excels at such little touches. More than that, the little touches seem perfectly in line with their quirks and personality. Considering how they all take the names of characters, it’s fitting that they never break character in this way.

Of course, the album’s quirks might turn off certain listeners, but I’m betting Danse de noir will appeal to more than a small number of doom fans. Lord Vigo’s unabashed personality ought to at least pique curiosity even if it doesn’t fully hook the listener on first spin. And after that, the quality of the songs can take over. As it should be.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

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