Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Changed name to: Blut aus Nord

Vlad - Yggdrasil
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Yggdrasil
3. Wotan's Quest for Wisdom
4. Interlude I
5. The Eternal Secret
6. Interlude II
7. Pure Black Philosophy
8. The Ninth Night
9. Outro

After only one year Vlad returns with their second demo and this time things are far more focused than ever before.  This is also the last demo to be produced under the name Vlad, because after this the band changed it's name to "Blut aus Nord," which is now a band of fairly legendary status for Vindsval's ability to evolve the genre.  The inklings of that Nordic influence starts to show itself with the album title alone.  So, the change of name is somewhat falls into the ideas being presented on this demo.

The music is much better this time around.  The compositions feel a lot more sure and thought out.  The music is still primitive and sort of has that amateur feel, but what demo doesn't around this time?  However, "Yggdrasil" really comes across as quite a monumental achievement when you realize Vindsval was only about 14 or so when he composed this.  One of the things that sort of stands out is the thick guitar tone.  It has a lot more meat to it than the typical thinned out guitar of Black Metal.  I think Vindsval is trying to create a more Atmospheric Black Metal approach with this demo, because between many of the tracks are all keyboard interludes... as I'm calling them anyway.  Despite what archival sites say, when you look at the tracks there's a decent amount of space between the keyboard pieces and the actual metal songs, so I consider them separate ideas.  The keyboard pieces aren't very long and I'm surprised they're kept very separate from the Black Metal tracks.  I think his music would blend with the keyboard ideas very well.  He does try to blend a little bit here and there, but not as much as I would have expected.

Ultimately this is a very historical release and monumental if you consider it the beginning of formation of Blut Aus Nord's sound.  Here's where that really began to take shape and eventually culminated into what Vindsval eventually gave us on "Ultima Thulée."

Vlad - In the Mist
Self-Released, 1993
 Genre: Black Metal

1. Raging Chaos
2. In My Darkest Fantasy
3. Forgotten Land
4. The Seven Winters

In some ways I feel like this is a long forgotten project and if it weren't for archival websites no one would know about this.  Vlad is a very early one man Black Metal band coming out of France.  In fact this dates back to being one of the earliest projects in the scene and is being released around the time as the infamous LLN projects.  Unfortunately, I do not own a copy of the original tape and am, yet again, forced to review mp3's.

Vlad's music on this demo is extremely primitive and I'm not entirely surprised why it didn't capture anyone's notice when it first came about.  This is one of those projects that is looked at after the fact of great success by the musician as a mere historical curiosity.  One of the first things you will notice is the fact that Vlad is using a drum machine rather than a real drummer.  Most early bands were not doing this and the only ones of any reknown were the likes of Limbonic Art and Mysticum.  I really do wonder how influential the LLN was on this release, because the Black Metal is somewhat reminiscent of Mütiilation's writing only Vlad's sound is a lot more cleaned up for this era.  There's also the usage of strange Ambient elements that border on the noisier side of things, which is something LLN got somewhat known for.  Just listen to the very strange "Forgotten Land" and you might see why I reference that group of musicians.  I could be way off the mark here, I just hope I am not.  For all I know "Forgotten Land" could have been influenced by Sweden's Abruptum.  Amidst some traditional and basic riffing Vlad does play around with some haunting dissonant sections, which would become more of a fulcrum point for the project in the future.  Hearing the early toying of ideas is actually extremely interesting.

In the end it is a strange release.  While it is nothing exceptional or ground breaking we get an interesting look at the early works of Vindsval.  It's a pleasure to hear how the musician developed over the years.  What they played around with, what worked, what didn't etc.  While I may not pull this demo out to listen to, I certainly enjoyed delving into the past for a few minutes.

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