HOLTER Vlad The ImpalerHot
Three years have passed since Trond Holter released his excellent rock opera Dracula - Swing Of Death, featuring Jørn Lande on vocals. The original plan was to leave Swing Of Death as a one-off project, but the success following it's release convinced Holter to start working on a follow up. The result is finally here in the shape of Vlad The Impaler. Vlad, also known as Vlad Dracula was voivode (or prince) of Wallachia three times between 1448 and his death and is the historical figure that inspired the famous legends about Dracula. While Jorn Lande was featured as lead singer on Dracula, the vocals are shared between Nils K. Rue (Pagan's Mind) and Eva Iselin Erichsen on this new one. Musically Vlad The Impaler follows more or less the same path as it's predecessor, but it's perhaps slightly more guitar driven and heavier than Swing Of Death. I had quite high expectations to this album, but I must admit that I wasn't fully convinced after having heard it the first time. However, I decided to give it a few more rounds, and it didn't take long before the greatness of the song material started to unfold. Trond Holter is without a doubt one of the finest songwriters Norway has to offer when it comes to melodic hard rock and metal, and he has once again proved his abilities. Nils K. Rue, who is responsible for the main part of the vocals does an excellent job here. He is a different type of singer than Jørn Lande, but they actually have one thing in comon and that is their theatrical expression when singing and the important ability to convey a story. Eva Iselin Ericsens contribution deserves credit as well, and the two singers voices fits like a glove together. All ten songs are premium quality and works very well individually, but to really get the most out of this excellent material the album should of course be consumed from start to end. Vlad The Impaler is an excellent follow up to Swing of Death that feels like a natrual and refreshing step forward. You can easily hear similarities to Swing Of Death, but at the same time Vlad The Impaler sounds different but yet equally interesting and great. Certainly among the best albums released this year.
Dracula - Swing Of Death (2015)
Vlad The Impaler (2018)