Review: Transilvania - Of Sleep And Death (2021) / From The Bowels Of Perdition


Of Sleep And Death

All the essential Transilvania’s identity traits, from their somewhat unoriginal name to the way they sound and they look, feel as if they have been intentionally reduced to a stereotype, which on the surface may seem like a bad thing. And had they merely settled for sounding vintage only for the sake of sounding vintage, it certainly would have been a bad thing. What they did, however, was pushing the envelope even further and letting their sound descend to downright proto territory, just like some weird time travellers from the past that willingly got stuck into here and now, all the while being perfectly aware that they don’t belong in neither. Still, the way they execute their primeval metal is what gives them all the leverage, as there are plenty of good vibes on Of Sleep And Death, even for a 21st century schizoid man.

This is not to say that the album is a masterpiece. Far from it. It’s rough around the edges more than anything, it’s primitive and elementary, but there are just enough hooks and interesting ideas to make everything work and feel right. A comparison to Malokarpatan wouldn’t be entirely unjustified, for as different as their respective styles may be there’s the same familiar superstitious, rural feeling on Of Sleep And Death that Slovakian underground sensation brilliantly mastered on their last two albums. That’s where similarities end though, as Transilvania has its own thing going on. What’s that thing precisely? Well, the official label, whether bestowed upon by others or self-imposed, is a mixture of black and thrash, however one could argue that Of Sleep And Death is nothing more than a proto heavy metal album with black metal vocals, that arguably has much more in common with King Diamond and Iron Maiden than with Aura Noir. Spiritually anyway.

With its convincing performance, undeniable rough charm, and a decent repeat value, this album feels like only a slight hint of how good these Austrians could actually become if they continue to steadily evolve and develop their songwriting and playing skills. The band to keep an eye on, for sure.


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