Walpyrgus is a relatively new heavy metal band from the USA. Although they’ve only been around for a couple of years, they bolster an impressive roster of musicians who have worked with some fantastic bands: Twisted Tower Dire, October 31, and Widow, just to name a few. Their first release is a 4-track EP, and is a release that showcases the band’s great songwriting ability. It is clear that these guys have been around the block in the music industry; they know how to create effective hooks and catchy songs without sacrificing riffs, solos, or grit. The first song on the EP, “Cold Cold Ground” is by far the best example of this. It has classic harmonized guitar leads that everyone should love, incredibly memorable vocal lines, and great pacing. Though the song itself isn’t excessively fast, the guitar work can be quite dazzling at times. The tempo of this song is another testament to the fact that Walpyrgus has some great songwriters. Usually a release will open with an incredibly fast, blazing tune. By contrast, “Cold Cold Ground”, while an upbeat rocker, certainly does not show the band playing their fastest (that would happen on “We Are The Wolves”. Despite this, it is the perfect opener for the EP.
Setting aside the cover song (a solid rendition of Mercyful Fate’s “Doomed By The Living Dead”), this release has two more originals. Both of them are quite a bit shorter than the opener, but share many similarities in terms of style. Neither of them quite reaches the heights of “Cold Cold Ground”, but that’s only because that track set the bar high. What plagues this release, as much as I don’t like to say it, is the vocal performance. To be completely fair to Walpyrgus’ singer, he is incredibly talented. He hits every single note that he needs to, the construction of the vocal lines themselves is fantastic, and he doesn’t really do anything wrong. The problem is that his voice just isn’t suited for this style of music. He’s more of a rock singer than a metal one. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for me it’s a struggle for two reasons. The first reason is that his voice just feels out of place. When the vocal lines are incredibly strong (such as on “Cold Cold Ground”) it’s easy to overlook, but at other times it is more difficult. The second difficulty I have with his sound is that I just don’t like many rock singers. This second criticism is down to personal preference, and can’t really be held against him, but it definitely makes me quite divided on an otherwise great release. If vocals are something you can easily overlook (or you just happen to prefer someone more in a rock-vein), “Walpyrgus” is a must listen. Even if you are a bit turned off based on this description, it’s still worth hearing just because of how good the music is.
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“Cold Cold Ground”
“We Are The Wolves”
3.8/5 or 76%.