Album Title: 
Nocturnal Dominion Of Death
Release Date: 
Sunday, April 21, 2024
Review Type: 


Location: Singapore

Members: Andi (the talking that accompanies the dead into the Lahad = lead vocals) / Khairil (the emptiness upon excavation of Kubur = all guitars) / Edi (the embedding of the Nisan = drums & percussions)

Formed: 1991-1993 / 1999-now

Recorded: at Studio 47 by Nizam Aziz

Artwork: Armaada Art (Andreas Christanetoff)

Format: jewel-box CD with twelve-page booklet & digital

Edition: 1,000 copies

Duration: 40:18

The scene from Singapore might never be underestimated, for it is a vivid and fruitful scene as from the earliest years. An example is Vrykolakas, an act that was born more than three decades ago. Throughout the years (and including a break during the Nineties), this band recorded and released an interesting pile of mini and full-length albums, demos and splits (and some compilations); often released via the band’s own label Vrykoblast Productions (run by Khairil and Andi).

For this new album, the trio decided to work together with Georgian label Satanath Records, in conspiracy with Futhark Records from Canada, Iron Blood And Death Corp. (Mexico) and Paragon Records (U.S.Aaaahrghhh). Nocturnal Dominion Of Death consists of eight lullabies that are like a soundtrack for peace, love and happiness. The material was written and recorded over quite a lengthy period (from December 2021 to October 2023), but now, finally, it sees the unlight, after a decent recording process by no one else by Impiety’s Nizam (who took care of studio recording work for bands like Devouror, The Furor, Infernal Execrator, Battlestorm or, evidently, his own Impiety as well). The physical album comes with mind-blowing cover-artwork by Russia’s Armaada Art (think: Pyrexia, Kraanium, Sadistic Demise, Phlebotomized, Aborted and so many others).

From sonic point of view, Vrykolakas once more offers a nostalgic vision on the bare essence of old styled, or is it timeless, Death Metal. It’s a slamming experience with a lot to discover and uncover. The band brings decently executed War Death Metal with a juicy old school attitude, and creating a perfect balance of melodicism at the one hand, and diabolic fury at the other. The members perform playing techniques that trespass international borders, with accents of the North-American and the European scenes, yet also referring to the South-East Asian area (as you do know, undoubtably, also Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, etc., do house extremely satisfying acts within this specific niche).

The material isn’t way too complex (at all), yet still it offers a technically high-skilled identity. The wall of strings by Khairil bring forth both fine-tuned melodies and heavy riffage, including some fiery solos, dissonant textures and resolute low-tuned passages. The extremely cool sound-quality takes care of a perfect balance in between all strings and the other instruments and voices. The latter, the vocals, are deeply growling, once again reminding of the earlier years. Andi’s vocal chords are deep and steadfast, with a couple of grinding shouts. But the most important thing is that his timbre not ever reeks of exaggeration; only persuasion and determination. Also the drum parts (by Edi) are solid yet ingenious: blasting artillery, rumbling patterns, down-tuned thundering, you name it.

And it goes further from time to time. I mean, some tracks exceed the limitations of tradition. I can’t put my finger on the exact details, but a little grooving piece like Bilateral Venomous Assault comes with those ingenious, though subtle detail that outstand averageness. It’s not only that crazy keyboard-thing, or these weird guitar-lines, or whatever. It’s just the total experience within, and behind, tracks like this one that add that ‘something more’ on top of, well, just ingeniously written and performed universal Death Metal.

All in all, Nocturnal Dominion Of Death was not created to reinvent the scene, yet to pay tribute to those times when acts like Bolt Thrower, Malevolent Creation, Immolation, Suffocation, Asphyx, Massacre, Master, Dismember and the likes ruled the world.