Vigilance - Hounds of Megiddo - (7/10)
Published on March 17, 2015
Vigilance is a Slovenian metal band that formed in 2010. The band released their debut full length, Queen of the Midnight Fire, in 2013, which came after an EP and a pair of demos. The band was recently picked up by the German labels Dying Victims Productions and Witches Brew, who will release their sophomore full length album, Hounds of Megiddo, in 2015. The band dubs their style the “new wave of blackened heavy metal”, which is a pretty apt description as they take the base elements of heavy/speed metal and fuse it with blackened aesthetics and first wave histrionics. It’s actually quite a far cry from their early work, which called to mind the works of Running Wild and Enforcer, but it’s a solid effort nonetheless.
Hounds of Megiddo features nine tracks of blackened heavy metal and a running time of around thirty-six minutes. Taking the primal styling of early Venom and blending it with a dose of rollicking heavy/speed metal a la Enforcer or Skull Fist. While that might sound like tons of fast paced and frenetic fretboard wizardry are in order, Vigilance’s take on the style seems to be more focused on mid-paced songs and choppy riffing. Sure there are frequent soirees into galloping rhythms with solid, speedy licks, like on “The Devil Rides Out”, but the band stays more rooted to a primal, almost first wave sound. The gruff and raspy, whiskey drenched shouts fit the style well, but seem a tad one dimensional as a whole. Compared to their early material, though, the vocals are more raw and acerbic than you’d expect from the band. What keeps Hounds of Megiddo from sounding like standard cult fodder are the frequent scaled licks and adherence to middle of the road pacing.
As if the band’s brand of blackened heavy metal didn’t light enough fires of old, there are tinges of early occult heavy metal mixed within, like the chorus riff that appears on “Zloba”. As if the rest of the album didn’t tread that fine line between all things speed, heavy and first wave black metal, the band ends Hounds of Megiddo with a cover Bathory’s classic “Sacrifice”, which adds a dash of primeval thrashing and high octane energy. While Vigilance proved to be competent at writing Teutonic speed metal anthems, Hounds of Megiddo is their attempt at crossing into darker waters. The band brings occult imagery, rabid growls and a solid blackened heavy/speed metal base, effectively sounding like a brand new band. Vigilance’s latest should please fans of heavy/speed metal looking for something a few shades darker than the usual fodder of the day.