Saturday, April 20, 2013

Vlad Tepes - Into Frosty Madness (1995)

Released in January 1995, Into Frosty Madness is the fifth proper demo tape from Vlad Tepes. Unfortunately, this is one of the worse-sounding cassettes from this French band, one that does little to dispel the notion that the LLN movement consisted of talentless bands that churned out senseless noise. Of course, this is not remotely true, but the chaotic sound of this recording is of the sort that likely strengthened such negative claims.

Overall, the sound is really cluttered and muddy. Vlad Tepes has somewhat of a reputation for embracing a lo-fi sound, but this is even more primitive and difficult to wrap one's head around than most of their other demos. The drop in quality is even more evident when these songs are compared to the earlier versions that were released on the War Funeral March demo. Whereas the various elements managed to stand out on that tape, here they blend together into a chaotic maelstrom of fury and hatred. Everything is more intense and somewhat barbaric, from the guitars and drums to the vocal approach as well. In some ways, this can be beneficial and will certainly appeal to those that prefer an even more raw sound.

As for the music, itself, the band's talents are somewhat harder to appreciate on this particular release. Anyone unfamiliar with Vlad Tepes would be advised to start elsewhere, as this tape is something that has to be digested for some time. It is not for those that are looking for instant gratification, in any way. However, the type of listener that can really put some time in and focus on the brilliant songwriting and the deceptive sense of melody and structure that exists within this often-frenzied style will eventually come away with a greater sense of respect for the work of Vlad Tepes and an understanding that this is far superior to the hordes of pretenders that flood the Black Metal scene today, making plastic albums that lack any real meaning and only seek to offer up thrice-regurgitated ideas that possess absolutely no substance. Into Frosty Madness offers an even more grim and necro perspective on these songs and is sure to please any fan of this band.