Album Review: VAULTWRAITH Light The Candle In Honour Of Devils
Missouri black metal band, Vaultwraith, unveiled their sophomore release, Light The Candle In Honour Of Devils. The new effort sees the band taking their 80's "trad metal meets black metal" sound into bold new directions. While the execution still isn’t always where it needs to be, this is still an interesting listen. On Light The Candle In Honour Of Devils, Vaultwraith use their raw songwriting skills to craft something that will resonate with the underground. Sure, certain elements could do with some sprucing up, but that’s part of the fun. Vaultwraith bring 80s bombast into direct contact with the darker elements of the underground metal universe. After all, in a sonic world where King Diamond meets Usurper, weird things are bound to happen.
There is a certain undeniable charm to Light The Candle In Honour Of Devils. Indeed, Vaultwraith know exactly what they’re doing with the melodic intro of a track like ‘Castle Of The Accursed.’ In many ways, tracks like this one feel like early melodic black metal There are so many wonderfully dorky touches that it makes for very fun listening. In some ways, Vaultwraith are only a few degrees removed from bands like early Dissection or Emperor. This atavistic approach is easy to digest. In particular the bass driven songs — including such standouts as ‘The Divine Butcheress’ — enhance their overall vintage aura. In fact, the bass playing is a highlight throughout the record. The bassist’s approach is much more melodic than one might expect from a very retro-leaning release, but that’s just part of what makes this so appealing.
The other element that adds to the wonderful magic of the band is of course the lyrics. There is no modern black metal subtlety here. Instead, Vaultwraith lean on song titles like ‘Betrothed To The Wicked’ and ‘Nachtober Necromancy’ to communicate that they’re here for blood. While this approach may be a bit over the top, it’s hard for old-school fans not to fall in love. There is something about Vaultwraith that speaks to the inner fifteen-year-old in every metalhead. Just look at that album art. It makes it clear that this is a band that want to worship at the altar of groups like Candlemass. Is it a touch silly? Sure, but that’s a huge part of what makes Light The Candle In Honour Of Devils worth spinning in the first place. This isn’t black metal meant to be taken seriously. This is black metal about chopping people up and crafting fist-pumping melodies to slam beers to.
Light The Candle In Honour Of Devils trades in raw charisma. While the allure of this album is certainly pointed, it makes sense for them to be working with Hells Headbangers. This is a record that combines a variety of retro influences in a way that is distinctly 2019. Vaultwraith have clearly spent a lot of time with the source material, which has led to a notable step forward for the band. While they still need to refine their production and songwriting to become scene darlings, this remains an album worth digging into for those of us enamored with the late 80s underground metal scene.