Transilvania - Of Sleep and Death
Invictus Productions
Black Metal
8 songs (49:59)
Release year: 2021
Invictus Productions
Reviewed by Goat

The first surprise about Transilvania is that they are not a Romanian band, hailing instead from Innsbruck, Austria, quite a long way geographically from the Gothic realm. The second is that for a band described as black/thrash, they're actually quite a lot closer to heavy metal than you'd think, distilling classic metal riffing into a deep dark stew. Sure, the black metal tropes are present and correct, from snarled vocals to blastbeats, but the way Transilvania conduct these disparities into a compelling whole is fascinating to hear, from the rise and fall of the guitar walls of sound to the songwriting varieties that take each song through its individual journey. Songs range from four to seven minute lengths and the band use the time well, packing in everything from harmonious keyboards to thrash breaks, if not always making the transitions between them work well. Yet generally the rushing second-wave darkness that emits from Transilvania like a sinister fog is gripping; Hekateion's raw rumble, for instance, drums bashing almost sloppily beneath the almost symphonic riffs, like early Emperor played a little slower and less majestically.

And for those of you less than interested in genre nerdery, Transilvania have plenty of moments like this where the spirit of the music prevails. You can tell that both Nifelheim and Dissection are both heavy influences on the band from the sheer riff domination on the likes of the title track, which also features those early Iron Maiden-esque melodic guitars. And, again, the variety is notable and keeps the listens fresh; the galloping violence a la Ares Kingdom in Lycanthropic Chant, for instance, is probably the most typically black/thrash moment on the album. It contrasts nicely with the following Vault of Evening where we have a touch of the gothic shining through, pleasantly melodic and mystical riffing not altogether unlike the work of Tribulation, representing another avenue that Transilvania would do well to explore further in the future. And the Bathory worship on Heart Harvest is another, a personal favourite and a reminder that it's been too long since those late 80s masterpieces have been blasted.

There's still work to be done; although Of Sleep and Death is a solid album you can see where Transilvania can cut out the songwriting fat to make their vampiric storms sleeker and more memorable. And battening down their wide mix of influences, too, wouldn't go amiss were the band to seek to reach Watain-esque heights. Yet Of Sleep and Death is a perfectly listenable and enjoyable black metal record that will charm the ears of fans of any of the bands mentioned in this review, if not yet making them superfluous.

Killing Songs :
Of Sleep and Death, Vault of Evening, Heart Harvest
Goat quoted 75 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:43 am
View and Post comments