“The Eternal Melancholy of the Wampyre”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Boy, the PR guy went overboard with this one! According to the press sheet, WAMPYRIC RITES is composed of  “...three ghostly entities inside the desolate dungeons covered by the dust of time and drinking from the chalice of ecstasy of the Ancient Spirit of Black Metal and Old School Dungeon Synth...” Oh brother! The ghostly entities are probably three dudes named Mitch, Doug and Mikey puttering around in a basement man-cave with neon PBR signs and dressing up as black metal ghouls. This stuff is just as much about dress up as the old hair metal bands…

The vampiric...excuse me, “wampyric”...stuff is all the rage in bedroom black metal this year. Well, I guess I’ve heard worse than these guys, although this album certainly wears out its welcome by the end. Most of the boring “dungeon synth” is confined to first track “Ancient Specters of the Forlorn Forest” and even then it turns to primitive, creepy black metal about half way through. I will say that the sound is more guitar heavy than I expected, which makes the monotonous riffing more bearable. In fact, in small doses, the sound has genuine “ancient” feeling. The trouble is, you don’t get it in small winds up in long, dragging epics where the repetition becomes boring. And needless to say, the typically howling screeches also become like steel wool against the soft tissues of the brain. Worst offender is final  track “Under An Amethyst Sky”, which drones for more than 11 minutes...about 8 minutes longer than it should have.

The “kult krowd” will seek this out (likely on cassette format) and that will be enough to sustain WAMPYRIC RITES for now. Past that limited audience, I see little hope for Mitch, Doug and Mikey.