Walpyrgus – Walpyrgus Nights (2017)

Another traditional metal throwback, Walpyrgus hails from North Carolina. This is their officilal debut, having released several singles and two live albums just before it. It would seem that these guys truly value their live shows, as it’s very rare that we’ll see a band release their live performances before even so much as the first studio album. Compared to the also received Legionnaire, I found Walpyrgus to be a bit more listenable, especially with Johnny Aune’s pleasant tone. That name should sound familiar to fans of Twisted Tower Dire (which sound similar to this band, I’m not going to lie – there’s just a bit more of an old school feeling to this one) as he also handles vocals in that act. Keep in mind, they’ve also snagged the guitarist from Twisted Tower Dire (Scott Waldrop) and surprisingly, the current guitarist for death/doomers Daylight Dies. Judging from Charely Shackleford’s work, I can tell that the guy (like many guitarists) spreads himself out among several different genres, as he also plays for Hellrazor and Iskariot in addition to this band of course. Drummer Carlos Denogean also plays in a few bands, but none more than the band’s bassist Jim Hunter, who also plays in Twisted Tower Dire. Over half the band plays in Twisted Tower Dire, but it’s safe to say that Walpyrgus is more of a rock act – especially when we consider the almost punk nature of “Dead Girls.” Even though that’s the case, Aune’s voice carries that band well enough with the dual axemen in tow that we’re getting a very proficient performance all of the way through. Though it isn’t something I can say that I’ve never heard before, it’s at least done with a real sense of purpose and should appeal to a great deal of classic rock and metal fans.

Obviously, this isn’t extreme metal, nor does it ever go into that level, but I don’t think it’s necessary either. We’re getting a pleasant mixture of vocals and riff patterns that sound like they came soaring out of the eighties’ golden age of rock and roll, which is an age that I am sad to say, is never coming back. With hip hop now the most popular genre in the US for the first time in history (according to Neilson) rock has fallen on hard times. A band like this should really have been spotlighted a little better in the media, especially considering the accessibility of the disc. You could put pretty much anything from this one on a classic rock radio station and I don’t think we’d be any the wiser. (That a Cheap Trick song from 88? No? You sure?) I’d actually compare the level of accessibility to that of Ghost, and the lyrical matter is quite similar too. Walpyrgus Nights is a very short listen, but it does the trick and that’s all I’m concerned about when it comes to this kind of music. I know what I’m getting, and I just want it to come off without a hitch, which it does. There’s nothing extra here, just great rock and roll.

Now the disc did come with an awesome comic book. The book is actually legit, with a truly original art style from what the book seems to credit to guitarist Scott Waldrop. If that’s the case, this guy will always have a place in the comic industry if for some reason he ever tires of playing guitar. For those of you who do not know, I’m a comic book nut and have well over 5,000 books on my hard-drive alone, not counting the physicals that I’ve purchased over the years. It’s safe to say that I’m familiar with fine comic art, considering the work of Promethea, The Sandman and The Killing Joke as some of the best artwork I’ve seen in this entire fucking medium thus far. In any case, each panel features a different style throughout, which gives it a nice flow, since the book is essentially illustrating the lyrics. I was quite awestruck with the fifth page, where a large panel greeted me with what looked like tons of hidden images in the background of the picture. I stared at that image for nearly fifteen minutes, trying to decipher all of the background pieces there. Since it has that sort of black and white manga style, it may not be for everyone, but I definitely felt that several of these pieces were quite brilliant and described the album concept rather well. The concepts for many of these tracks are horror/occult stories and not all that fanciful, but coupled with the comic it becomes a more interesting listen. This is the first comic I’ve ever received from a band, and I found it a welcome surprise.

(8 Tracks, 35:00)

8/10

https://walpyrgus.bandcamp.com/album/walpyrgus-nights

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