The Cursed Travails of the Demeter by Vircolac

Release date: October 31, 2016
Label: Dark Descent Records

Ireland’s black/death merchants Vircolac debuted with the very promising EP Codex Perfida in 2015. In 2016, Sepulchral Productions teams up with Dark Descent Records to release the much-anticipated follow-up, The Cursed Travails of the Demeter. Dark, swirling, billowing black/death metal with high aesthetics makes its way back into Vircolac’s musical output, hinting at a great cauldron of influences starting with Order of Chaos and Samael, amongst others.

While Vircolac may have tested the waters with little fanfare and press coverage for Codex Perfida, Vircolac is on a wave of media anticipation for the much awaited release of The Cursed Travails of the Demeter. From the same concept that progenitors like Morbid Angel used to burst onto the scene at a time untested for their style or sound, Vircolac dive headlong into 2016 and The Cursed Travails of the Demeter with the prerogative of crafting an authentic take on the black/death metal template. Like swirling dark winds of a time forlorn to technology and modern advancements, Vircolac’s sound is both sophisticated and primal, refined in musicianship to suggest at the the former, while utilizing mounting aggression and rationale to reflect the latter.

The lyrical content and theme here is also worth exploring. The band’s content revolves around the famed ship The Demeter, in which Dracula sails to England, spreading horror and death amongst the crew of the cursed vessel. This definitely helps fans appreciate the music much more.

With regards to the music, The Cursed Travails of the Demeter utilizes hi-hat patterns and complex morphing rhythms to pace their attack. While going crescendo, the band uses shred sections and tremolo picking amidst the carefully plotted arrangements, always seeking a balance between aggression and refinement. The musicianship here reflects meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. While easy to appreciate, as The Cursed Travails of the Demeter is catchy enough for a mainstream audience to be suitably entertained, black/death metal of this order should be given due credit for the songwriting and musical proficiency on tap here. Black/death metal may be the next wave of big trends in the underground scene, and soon enough, more and more bands will try out their take on the black/death sub-genre to tap into the next big thing, but Vircolac’s sound suggests at some esoteric quality to the initiative of making music. The members of Vircolac make music for its own sake, and a mainstream audience of Vircolac fans is still quite hard to imagine bearing fruit, but should black/death metal reach into the stratosphere with no turning back, expect Vircolac to be at the forefront of it all. It’s really not that difficult to imagine when you think of how much potential the band still has at this stage of its lifecycle.

With The Cursed Travails of the Demeter in the band’s small discography, expect nothing but sensational results from Vircolac’s future efforts. I anticipate that the band might indeed build an audience amongst mainstream fans with their latest recording, and Vircolac is in fact, just getting started after all. I will look forward to what Vircolac has to offer in future efforts. There’s a distinct use of groove here, without so much as belting out obvious Pantera groove. There’s a hint of old-school death metal phenomenon Bolt Thrower in the sound and chugging sections, but you wouldn’t swear to any comparison made between the two bands. Vircolac just sounds suitably Vircolac, and if that doesn’t excite you, few bands in metal might do so.

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