Although lead singer and main man for the group Vulvagun Wayne Dwyer might disagree with me, I have to say that this band for all their progressive metalness, has a definite power metal core that combined with their mythological subject matter makes for one killer disc. Just think of Iron Maiden in their most progressive moments and you will have the realm that these guys call home. This will give you a reference point to start from but really doesn't do justice to the dynamic debut from this Australian band that with a little bit of luck could become the next powerhouse in the metal music world. They have all the tools. Scintillating guitar work, thought provoking lyrics and a vocalist that can actually sing! Forget about the wailers, Mr. Dwyer has that type of voice that sucks you in much in the same way that Bruce Dickinson from the already mentioned Iron Maiden sweeps you away with his ability.
Hold on tight and get ready for a musical ride to the dark side where demons toil and all the things that go bump in the night come to life. Although it really isn't a concept album par-say, it is more of a guide book to the Underworld. Now add the majestic music that must accompany this subject matter and you will hear why this has been one of my favorite finds this year. Vulvagun captures the macabre and the darkness in a way that has the same effect as watching one of those old creepy movies that rely on the imagination more than the graphic. Vulvagun sends chills up and down the spine musically. Almost like a drug that you cannot get enough of. It is the type of album that will be played time and time again. This is a mature metal album that has creative music with equally cerebral lyrics that make such an intense combination you will feel drained by the end of the disc.
As if opening the Book of the Dead, the title track "Cold Moon Over Babylon" kicks off the disc with a trip to an ancient land where the pagan rituals are commonplace. This anthem like bit of metal sets a tone with it's hard and epic style that sucks you into the netherworld but it is the dynamic music that keeps swirling through your head. As they continue into the almost marching, pounding of "The Black Pyramid" you will be looking for the alter with the virgin lying on it waiting for the knife as the Latin chanting takes you into a dark realm. As each song unfolds, it is like the chapters of a book with each describing a different aspect of the dark arts. With shifting time signatures and constantly changing tempos the band keeps you on edge and waiting for the next part of the story to play out.
It is still the music they deliver that is the focal point. Such a diverse set of styles makes this a real treat for the metal fan. From those that want NWOBHM to the early grandiose type Rush sound with a mix of newer bands like Symphony X and Blind Guardian all metal fans will find this album to their liking. Vulvagun captures the spirit of metal like few bands in recent memory can. The thunderous but yet melodic "A Murder Of Demons" is a prime example of how they manage to take all these styles and form a unique sound that demands the attention of the listener.
My favorite song "Malachi" is another where you will be blown away by the terrific combination of heaviness while still keeping it melodic. This is as epic and powerful a tune as any I have heard lately. It shows a musical and songwriting ability that makes me yearn for their next offering already. This is the type of music that I feel fortunate to find and only hope that many get the same chance to hear this magnificent piece of rock and roll.
Another highlight from the album is the instrumental piece "Heart Of The Mountain". If a piece of music was ever a soundtrack to the theme a band is trying to convey, this is it. While it is not long, it carries you from antiquity to the present day using a regal majestic feel that also serves as the prelude to the searing and larger than life feel of the next song "Equinox".
I cannot find a weak spot or anything negative to say about this album at all. Well let me take that back, somebody needs to talk to them about their band name but that is about it! This one has been and will continue to be a very, very welcome addition to the regular rotation in my household. It is strongly recommended and will be on my best of the year list for sure. This one is a real no brainer. Just go over to their page and order it. You can thank me later!
1. Cod Moon Over Babylon
2. The Black Pyramid
3. Arise Neophyte
4. A Murder Of Demons
6. Heart Of The Mountain
8. Confessions Of A Flesh Eater
9. Union Of The Snake
10. Of Pain, Trancendence And The Dark Design
11. The Transit Of Venus
12. Clavicula Salomonis