Vltimas – Something Wicked Marches In (Season of Mist)

Given the trident of talent that spearheads Vltimas, you’d have been surprised if Something Wicked Marches In wasn’t a masterpiece. So called ‘supergroups’ have left us disappointed before though, sometimes coming across like a jovial studio kickabout between mates, rather than an elite performance by musical visionaries.

But Vltimas – an unholy triad of ex-Morbid Angel frontman David Vincent, former Mayhem axeman Rune ‘Blasphemer’ Eriksen and Cryptopsy drummer Flo Mounier – have harnessed their supreme powers to stunning effect here. Something Wicked Marches In is a maelstrom of blackened death which crackles with ingenuity and invention. It has a depth often lacking in contemporary extreme metal, an intensity that can only come from three musicians who share the same hive mind… and the same sense of purpose.  

Eriksen dives and weaves, scorching the earth as the notes flow from his fretboard: powered by Mounier’s inhuman propulsion, his guitarwork is devastating, arcing between serrated tremelo picking, blazing chord progressions and icy atmospherics. Vincent, meanwhile, unleashes his trademark growl over the best music he’s put his name to in years. ‘Evil D’ may have his detractors, but when he’s on this form, you’d do well not to get in his way.  

Opening the album, the title track – although a fine effort – may walk too far into the realms of accessibility for hardcore black and death metal fans… but the incendiary Praevalidus will surely put their minds at rest.

Other highlights are numerous: Last Ones Alive Win Nothing is built around an addictive, churning groove, lacerated by a terrifying riff and jolted by Mounier’s explosive interventions; Total Destroy is total carnage, bringing to mind Vincent’s performance on MA’s Dominate; and Everlasting takes us straight into a firestorm, before slowing the tempo to drive home its point.

It would be nice to think that the trio can produce a follow-up, such is the majesty of Something Wicked Marches In. But even if this album proves to be a one-off, Vltimas will live long on the memory.