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Vampire - Cimmerian Shade


by Matt Hensch

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Vampire lurks among Sweden's shadowy edifice of death/thrash metal bands. "Cimmerian Shade," a four-song platter, sinks in its teeth and drains what it needs without wasting a second. The EP is near the pinnacle of quality in an era when excellent EPs are, though achievable, hard to come by. Part of the appeal of "Cimmerian Shade" stems from its sure style of death/thrash metal that isn't contaminated by awful production or crap riffs. Vampire isn't too shabby of a band, reminding me a bit of Deceased and especially older Tribulation. That said, the four tracks each present their own set of style and structure within Vampire's formula. "Cimmerian Shade" delivers a quick bite and leaves the corpse a lifeless husk, eyes frozen in fear, but also admiration; the riffs aren't the apparatus doing the sucking.

Again, ample ground is covered. "Pyre of the Harvest Queen" moves in a Deceased-like prowl of mid-tempo death/thrash metal with the semblance of atmospheric creeping. "Night Hunter" is the EP's homerun, charging out of the gate with a blazing thrash riff and then catapulting to a retrogressive rhythm and a melting solo that drips fire and isn't artificial. "Hexahedron" finds middle ground between blitzing death/thrash metal and atmospheric prowls waiting to pounce, probably the weakest of the three. The other track is an instrumental ambient bit whose inclusion makes sense, but the bond it makes doesn't adhere well. This class of interlude would find better use on a longer format, not an EP that runs for a total of fifteen minutes.

The only disposable track is "Sleeper in the Deep," the aforementioned instrumental, which isn't too bad, just badly placed. All in all, while the next "Haunting the Chapel" it is not, "Cimmerian Shade" isn't too shabby.

Vampire - Cimmerian Shade
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