Full – length album (Metal Tank Records, May 14th 2013)
Line – up (2010): Jakob Rejec – vocals/guitar;
Gilian Adam – guitar;
Anze Stegel – bass;
Tine Kaluza – drums;
Rok Zalokar – piano (special guest in the titletrack).
Location: Postojna, Inner Carniola (Slovenia).
Better song of the album:
Better feature of the music:
Its magic atmosphere combined with a dynamic songs’ structure.
Cover artwork: Mario E. Lopez M.
There was a great expectation about the Vigilance’s debut album, considering the previews and the informations, concerning them, published by the Metal Tank Records. In fact, I must say I liked already this platter, not only for its ‘eighties’ sound, but also because the band shows a decisively accentuated personality. In this way, they confirm again that the recent and general return to the metallic roots isn’t pure revival but a movement of great creativity. Anyway, attention, because the Vigilance are an exception to the typical modus operandi of Timpani allo Spiedo, since they doesn’t play extreme metal, also if they have some elements of this kind, as you will see very soon.
In fact, this time we have to do with a band of heavy/speed metal with dark and damned tunes, so to remember at times the Angel Witch (“Under Sulphurous Skies”). But these young guys play both with an excellent imagination and a rare caution to the details, proposing, at the same time, a very reasoned but scrappy songs’ structure complete with a bunch of complex tempo shifts.
The solos occupy a fundamental role in the Vigilance’s music, since you can find sometimes 3 solos in a single song, showing always a good melodic taste and variety. Their function is so embracing that there are the double solos in some songs, while the soloist guitar is also attentive to complete/integrate the main riff.
Another interesting aspect of the Vigilance comes from their vocal sector, that is able to floor the listeners. In fact, Jakob range from the enchanting choirs of the titletrack to the falsettos, from the hysterical and croaking screams to the real growls. He has a versatile voice, preferring anyway a clean and clear tone, hence it isn’t so stentorian as you should expect. Maybe he must work to differentiate in a better way the main line vocals, because, during the second part of the album, they have a slight tendency to the déjà – vù.
A great quality of the heavy metal bands of the ’80 was (and still is) their ability to vary, in a remarkable manner but with a well – defined style, the own songs. Fortunately, the Vigilance are succeeded also on this, even if they play hard throughout and without the compulsory ballad (but there's an interlude for only guitars and bass called "Poetry and the Gods". For example:
- the titletrack is surely the representative song of the album since it synthesize, in 5 minutes and a half, the main features of the band, containing also a dramatic and horrific finale (with piano) and an almost black metal riffing;
- “Behind the Cellar Doors” range from the rock moments that reminds the NWOBHM – era to the harder and thrash metal passages, while its finale is pure psychedelia;
- “SpeedWave”, as suggest the title, is, along to “Night Terrors” and “Ritual of Death”, a speed and headbanging metal song complete with some contagious punkish riffs;
- “What Lies Beyond…” is THE dark track of the album, also thanks to the main riff and to the swirling solos that are death metal (what the fuck…?). However, this song has a unconciving but particular finale, adding nothing significant to the track’s discourse;
- instead, “Night Terrors” has an epic mood complete with simply choirs.
The funny thing is that the surprise is behind every Vigilance’s song, since even the bass shoot some good melodic lines, releasing itself from the guitar riffing (and here the Angel Witch’s spectre returns…).
In brief, “Queen of the Midnight Fire” is a little masterpiece of old but modern heavy metal. I must say I don’t expected a quality of this kind, also because I don’t follow very much the pure heavy metal scene of nowadays. When I put the CD into my stereo, I was completely caught by the magic but dynamic atmosphere of the album, so… mmmh… maybe I will review more stuff of this kind on my blog.
Flavio “Claustrofobia” Adducci
1 – Queen of the Midnight Fire/ 2 – Behind the Cellar Doors/ 3 – SpeedWave/ 4 – What Lies Beyond…/ 5 – Night Terrors/ 6 – Four Crowns of Hell/ 7 – Poetry and the Gods/ 8 – Under Sulphurous Skies/ 9 – Ritual of Death