When your cover art features a skeleton playing the organ on the back of horse-drawn carriage, you need to understand that your audience is going to have very high expectations. Not just any music can live up to the fun but unabashedly evil experience promised by artwork like the one featured on Death is Proof of Satan’s Power, but Vaultwraith apparently knew what they were getting themselves into. The band delivers catchy black metal in spades, oozing with classic heavy metal influences (think Judas Priest) and macabre details of all kinds. While “fun” music often times means fast and sloppy riffing with little regard for quality songwriting, the pacing on this release is actually relatively slow and the atmosphere gloomy; there’s not much that can be fairly called “sloppy” here, it’s more fun in a thematic sense.
Not to discredit the King Diamond inspired campiness and riffing style, the speed is what drives the classic heavy metal aspect home the most. Some sections get pretty intense, but Death is Proof of Satan’s Power never goes beyond anything that you would hear from Iron Maiden in terms of tempo. Speed metal and thrash metal territory remain untouched, but there’s nothing wrong with gloomy black metal, especially when that gloom is dressed up enough to be considered ‘spooky.’ The vocals are generally the bit that bring the intensity and remind me of something you’d hear come out of a banshee.
Both structurally and thematically, Vaultwraith is able to present themselves with this element of grandiosity that you would expect from a vampire queen or some other over-the-top dark fantasy figure. There are some ominous synths in the background most of the time that provide a more than solid backdrop to the music without overwhelming it or taking the forefront. This backdrop is an excellent foundation for the stories told within each song, which are all tastefully campy (well, maybe not “Open Grave Rape”) and theatrical to the end that it all maintains your attention but doesn’t drain you of your energy or bombard you with emotion. The tracks are constructed in a way that lets the slice of dark fantasy seep into the listener’s mind and tie the experience together; in other words, Death is Proof of Satan’s Power is able to justify its being a full length album.
Vaultwraith is still relatively new to the game but that hasn’t prevented them from making a memorably macabre full length debut to their discography. Whether you’re in the market for some slower black metal or for something to pack into an unseasonable halloween playlist, Death is Proof of Satan’s Power is there to provide an enjoyable listen.
Death is Proof of Satan’s Power is now available via Hell’s Headbangers.