At some point last year, I started seeing the phrase “vampyric black metal” appear with more and more frequency. Granted, it’s not actually anything new—once upon a time, “vampyric black metal” essentially referred to more Gothic-leaning black metal bands with a serious Lord Byron fetish (see: early Cradle of Filth). Like most genre designations—or I guess sub-genre, in this instance—the meaning tends to evolve over time.
For example, Byyrth’s forthcoming second album Echoes from the Seven Caves of Blood sounds absolutely nothing like old-school Cradle of Filth. Instead, the Los Angeles-based cult seem like they’ve been hanging around the same crumbling castles in Brest where Les Légions Noires conducted their rituals of alchimie du sang noir vampirique. In fact, Byyrth’s lineage back to bands like Belkètre, Vlad Tepes, and Mutiilation is so strong that Meyhna’ch himself makes a guest vocal appearance on two of the album’s tracks.
Lest anyone get the idea, however, that Byyrth are simply Les Légions clones, let me put that to rest right here and now. The band’s core duo of Lord II and Traag may be marching towards the same Black Holocaust, but they’re definitely torching their own path along the way. For starters, there’s a punkish arrogance and definite swagger to these eight sanguine anthems that no amount of raw production could possibly hide.
Consider “Call of the New Legion,” which we’re happier than Renfield cultivating his flies to be premiering today at the Vault. That main riff comes tearing through the hiss trailing plenty of blood and venom behind it, but it also has the same undercurrent of sex that drives a song like Tribulation’s “Melancholia” or even Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” And yes – I just made a comparison between Byyrth and Tribulation. Frankly, the easiest way to describe “Call of the New Legion” is to say it sounds like the Swedish goths if they had been an LLN band: equal parts cocksure, necro, and serpentine.
I’d say that “Call of the New Legion” is of the highlights of the album, but with its tight and tempestuous 28-minute run time, every track on Echoes from the Seven Caves of Blood is a highlight. From the boot-to-the-throat opening track “Blood Warfare” through the album’s tortured centerpiece “Cry of the Wurdelak” to the raging blackened hardcore of closer “Shattered Soul,” this album is about as close to perfect as black metal gets.
Mark my words: Byyrth is going to be the 2018 version of Lluvia or Krolok – if you’re into black metal at all, you need to hear this album because the buzz surrounding it is completely deserved. And even though it’s still January, Echoes from the Seven Caves of Blood is already a serious contender for my album of the year. It comes out on March 9 via Iron Bonehead Productions, but you can stream “Call of the New Legion” right now exclusively on Indy Metal Vault. Play this one fucking loud, and if you’re somehow able to sit still when that riff kicks in, then you’re made of sterner stuff than me.