Vircolac - Codex Perfida (2014)
Iron Bonehead Productions
Review by Trevor Proctor
Ever the source of exciting and fresh underground music, once again Iron Bonehead has dredged the depths of Hell and unearthed another gem. Not content with supplying us top-notch bands such as Malthusian and Zom, Dublin has another new band to be proud of - Vircolac. Named after a Ukrainian werewolf this four piece death metal band is another Irish band you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the near future.
Vircolac’s debut four track demo, Codex Perfida, meaning “book of the faithless,” has just been released in digital formats and will be available on cassette from Iron Bonehead Productions late December 2014. There were 30 exclusive festival editions of the cassette available at Vircolac’s live debut during Redemption Festival in Dublin at the end of November. This was a weekend line-up shared with Primordial, Dead Congregation, Swallowed, Malthusian, The Ruins of Beverast, Bolzer, Dread Sovereign and The Wizards of Firetop Mountain. The demo was produced by Ola Ersfjord and the extremely eye-catching cover was designed by US artist Stephen Wilson.
Opening track, Codex Perfida, is an instrumental that sets the tone nicely with a solitary drum beat followed by scene setting, eerie piano. Rather than rush proceedings Vircolac use almost three minutes of this opener to generate a creepy and dark atmosphere that’s befitting of their music. Confessio follows and it’s straight down to business - it’s apparent from the first few seconds this is a recording that has had a lot of time and effort put into it. This is no half-arsed demo thrown together in someone’s bedroom – it’s blatantly obvious the band has spent a lot of time writing, practising and rehearsing.
Confessio lasts eight minutes which is a brave move as this is a long time in which you can very easily lose momentum and/or the listener’s attention. Thankfully this is not the case as there’s plenty going on to grab your attention and keep a devilish grip on it during not only this track but also across the entire recording. Confessio starts at a frenetic pace but Vircolac flex their creative muscles well and use the eight minutes effectively by varying tempo and heaviness whilst using creepy breaks, piano and effects to maintain that darkened atmosphere.
Confessio is a great track laced with plenty of variance and those eight minutes fly by in a blaze of atmospheric death metal. In fact, that’s what Vircolac have achieved with this demo – they have enough clever, individual touches and nuances combined with the finest death metal to give their music an edge and authentic sound. The introduction to track three “The Worm Turns” starts quietly with clean guitar and a spoken word section taken from “Anthems for a Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen and is another example of their flair and individuality.
Regarding musical style in a recent interview with The Lair of Filth Vircolac stated “As for style, simply, we're a death metal band. Too much focus these days is on the adjectives added to 'death metal' to describe a band's sound, which is absurd and largely irrelevant.” I agree wholeheartedly with them and what we have within Codex Perfida is a shining example of the finest Death Metal performed extremely well. Vircolac are seasoned veterans and it shows – this is an accomplished debut and illustrates a band that’s brimming with both confidence and talent.
Vircolac claim this is just the beginning for them and to be honest I hope this is the case – one of the best demos I’ve heard in a long time, I suggest you don’t miss out and get your mitts on this.
1 - Codex Perfida
2 - Confessio
3 - The Worm Turns
4 - Effigy
Vircolac's Codex Perfida is released by Iron Bonehead Productions on December 22nd, 2014.