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Albums| Vltimas - Epic

Het is vrijdag 15 april 2024 en die dag staat rood omcirkeld in onze agenda's, toch? Vandaag komt Epic uit, het tweede album van Vltimas. Om niet alleen een tipje van de sluier op te lichten, doch maar meteen die hele fucking sluier in de sloot te flikkeren: Epic is episch!

Laten we echter ook even eerlijk zijn: is er iets anders te verwachten van een band die bestaat uit zoveel klasse en ervaring als Vltimas? Zanger David Vincent draait al zo'n 40 (!) jaar mee en is het meest bekend als zanger van Morbid Angel, Rune 'Blasphemer' Eriksen wordt door het grote publiek het meest geassocieerd met zijn formidabele gitaarspel bij Mayhem, terwijl voor drummer Flo Mournier zijn eerste, voornaamste baan nog steeds ligt bij Cryptopsy. Kortom: deze mannen zijn het aan hun reputatie en hun stand verplicht om parels af te leveren.

Bijna op de kop af vijf jaar nadat het debuut Something Wicked Marches In uitkwam (op 29 maart 2019) ligt album nummer twee vanaf vandaag in de winkel: Epic. Hoewel het aftrapt met een ietwat vreemde Volens Discordant, is het daarop volgende nummer, de titelsong van het album, Epic een waardige échte opener: een zware, donkere - niet al te snelle - aankondiging van wat gaat komen. Wat volgt is het snelle Miserery, dat eind vorig jaar uitkwam als eerste single. De trend van snelheid wordt voortgezet in Exercitus Irae, vrij vertaald 'leger van wraak'.

Waar Exercitus Irae, maar ook nummers als Mephisto Manifesto of het "onoverwinnelijke" Invictus, eveneens voorbeelden van zijn, is dat Epic is zwaarder, theatraler en bombastischer is dan het eerste album. Het blijft echter volledig trouw aan de kwaliteitsnorm die bij Something Wicked Marches In is neergelegd. De typische strot van Vincent, de schitterende riffs van Eriksen en het strakke drumwerk van Mournier doen de luisteraar alleen maar uitzien naar de live-optredens van deze mannen.

De release-tour duurt slechts ruim een week en wordt op 23 maart a.s. zowaar afgetrapt in Metropool in Enschede. Een dag later staan de mannen in Drachten. Belgische fans zullen helaas moeten wachten totdat Vltimas op 21 juni zijn opwachting maakt op Graspop.

Releasedatum: 15 maart 2024



Extreme metal powerhouse VLTIMAS (pronounced 'uhl-tuh-mas') assault metaldom once more with their highly-anticipated sophomore album, EPIC, through Season of Mist. Featuring Norwegian guitarist Rune "Blasphemer" Eriksen (ex-Mayhem, Aura Noir), American vocalist David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel), and Canadian drummer Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), the multinational quintet, rounded out by Dutch bassist Ype TVS (ex-Dodecahedron) and Portuguese guitarist João Duarte (Corpus Christii), continue to venture down their path. Moored by strength and integrity, VLTIMAS fortified their signature with wicked invention, as applauded by Decibel Magazine, BangerTV, Louder, and many others, on their debut, Something Wicked Marches In (2019). Singles "Miserere," "Scorcher," and "Invictus" showcase a band of musicians at the top of their game, united in their pursuit of oneness.

"We wrote every bit of EPIC together at my ranch in Dime Box, Texas," offers Vincent. "The writing sessions were as organic as they could be. There were times when, at the end of the night, Rune would take his guitar and play something ridiculous. Flo would play something even more ridiculous on top of it. I'd say to the guys, 'I need to capture this.' So, the magic [of VLTIMAS] is being in the same room together, discussing, playing, and recording music and everything else we're doing together. We have unbelievable camaraderie." 

While the members of VLTIMAS are not atavists, their preferred creative methods are time-tested and battle-hardened. Technology has its place, but the group thrive when they're together, not separated by the world. Eriksen, renowned as a riff innovator, is more effective when he's got a highly capable sideman like Vincent or Mounier, whose drumming in Cryptopsy and his celebrated instructional Extreme Metal Drumming 101 DVD has proven to be a no-limits player, by his side. Whether it's the moody, angular attack of "Miserere," the wicked groove of "Mephisto Manifesto," or the dark fury of "Nature's Fangs," the chemistry and enterprise of VLTIMAS is undeniable.

"The main goal [of VLTIMAS] is to be real," Eriksen reveals. "To channel the very moment, to let true inspiration out. I don't believe I ever set myself a goal on what an album should or needs to sound like before I or we write it because that means I have to compromise during the process. For EPIC, we focused on more direct songs, trimming the fat, as opposed to Something Wicked Marches In, which had a progressive and 'playful' flair."

VLTIMAS was a profane concept—a constellation of riffs against a modest frame—when formed by Eriksen in 2015. After departing Mayhem in 2008 and putting his gothic doom outfit Ava Inferi to rest in 2013, the Norwegian's fingers still itched with infernal fury. VLTIMAS was his vent, and when Mounier and Vincent joined, he finally had the cadre of professionals to make it a reality. Together, they devised complementary schemes and themes rooted in rightness. In a world gone mad, VLTIMAS had a vision. On Something Wicked Marches In, they commanded attention with metaphors about the apocalypse, the ancient goddess Lilith, and truth. Lyrically, EPIC spears into the very nucleus of strength through Vincent's brio of double entendre and clever wordsmithing. The songs are designed to be heard, read, and interpreted—there are no shortcuts.

"Everything we're doing and messaging is about strength and honor," says Vincent. "These are the fundamentals that I incorporate into my life, which I believe in. I want to share with others, hoping they'll incorporate strength and honor into their lives. I wouldn't say I like spelling lyrics out. I use a lot of double meanings on purpose because I want to inspire the listener to think. I'm not a short attention span guy, and I don't appreciate it. EPIC is holistic and meant to be experienced that way."

EPIC was recorded by producer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Paradise Lost, Grave Miasma) with engineer Jonathan Mazzeo (First Fragment, Sickening) at Arda Recorders in Porto, Portugal. VLTIMAS tracked the album throughout May 2023. Arellano also handled the mix and master. Like everything the band does, the main goal was to be honest. The maxim of no sample replacement or re-amping—EPIC was captured on outboard gear—was adhered to and enjoyed by the team. The result is a sonic expression that sounds like nothing else. From the crushing title track to the epic musicality of closer "Spoils of War," EPIC is an absolute beast.

"Stress, long walks, too much alcohol, yet very focused once in the recording mode," Eriksen says of the sessions. "We booked a month, but somehow, that flew by instantly. We worked up until the very end. I even added a few solos at my local Soundscape Studio in Almada, Portugal. Art unfolds, and once you think you are done, there's always another idea popping up."

VLTIMAS brought Italian artist Daniele Valeriani (Mayhem, Unanimated) to visualize EPIC. The aesthetic, as illuminated by music and message, was iconic boldness. The three-eagle head crest with three different crowns, accompanied by transfigured symbols of the Passion and the "impossible triangle," projects effortlessly. In EPIC, the group will dominate. There's no escape from "Miserere," "Mephisto Manifesto," "Scorcher," and "Invictus." Together, they thrust, by resolve and inventiveness, VLTIMAS into the uppermost echelons of extreme metal.

"[EPIC is] old meets contemporary, a symbiosis of all the great things we love about extreme metal," offers Eriksen. "All combined into one album."

"I want to be as emotional and honest [with VLTIMAS]," Vincent adds. "I want to tell stories; I want to have the themes that appeal to me; I want to have some messaging that someone can take away, in this case, strength. EPIC is strength."


David Vincent - Vocal

Rune Blasphemer Eriksen - Guitar

Flo Mounier - Drums

Ype TVS - Bass

João Duarte - Guitars


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