Vampirska – Vermilion Apparitions Frozen in Chimera Twilight Review

I had only heard of — but not actually heard — Vampirska before listening to Vermilion Apparitions Frozen in Chimera Twilight. From the little I had read, I expected something more chaotic and orthodox than what I am writing about here. Not that a controlled chaos can’t be orthodox. And when its individual components are melded together, the album sounds a whole lot like lo-fi black metal. Comparisons to Lamp of Murmuur and Wampyric Rites aren’t too far off the mark. Yet there’s no denying that there’s something else going on here. Something a bit more rock and roll. Certainly more melodic. Maybe even a little ambient at times, too — just a smidge. It is that “something else” that gives Vampirska its character.

Release date: March 1, 2022. Label: Inferna Profundus Records.
“Dreamblack: Drowning in Anhedonia” is an effectively haunting opener. It sounds like a modernized version of something you would hear at the beginning of a German silent film, and only because the production is just a bit clearer. Everything from the echo of simplistic keys to what sounds like the constant buzz of wind and rain creates just the right amount of unease. The song also bleeds remarkably well into the album’s second track, “Midnight: An Illusive Vision into the Boundless Sky of Mourning Stars with Prominent Eyes,” an introduction not only to the band’s not-entirely-unexpected-but-nonetheless-quite-scathing vocals but also to the band’s more unexpected rock and roll riffing.

Accessibility is not a quality I normally associate in any sort of positive way with lo-fi black metal, but what makes Vermilion Apparitions interesting is undoubtedly its accessibility. Usually it’s the patterned droning that gets me; a constant, hypnotic, and tremolo-picked drone. Not so here. Songs like “Midnight” and the track that follows, “Astral Transfixion: My Hear Devoid of Any Entity,” are built from something significantly more traditional. Though that approach is hardly unique, it often results in a collection of riffs as opposed to individually compelling songs. These six tracks, however, are songs.

“Pareidolia: The Bringer of Poison & Toxic Passion” even hints at some playfulness and fun. The fun element comes from the unmistakably punk feel of the riff that kicks in at about the 30-second mark. True, it’s enveloped in a lo-fi sheen, and caked mostly in orthodoxy, but that seeming incongruity is also part of the fun. And though the remaining two songs aren’t as obvious in their playfulness, they are not purely orthodox in approach either, particularly as the album closes.

Something tells me that my affinity for this surprise treat from Vampirska will only grow with time. Vermilion Apparitions Frozen in Chimera Twilight is a fun kind of strange, bending the rather straight course of mostly orthodox and lo-fi black metal to its will with real riffs that pack punch. It’s not that more orthodox and lo-fi black metal bands can’t have real riffs — Vampirska’s are just more real. And punchier.

Posted by Chris C

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