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Review: Walpyrgus - Walpyrgus Nights
Walpyrgus Nights

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2017
Duration: 37:22
Tracks: 8
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: May 26, 2017
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Walpyrgus Nights

Rated 4.07/5 (81.43%) (14 Votes)

Walpyrgus is a kind of side project for guitarist Scott Waldrop of Twisted Tower Dire and While Heaven Wept, also involving TTD and WHW bass player Jim Hunter and current TTD vocalist Jonny Aune, as well as WHW mastermind Tom Phillips as engineer/songwriter/producer. Considering TTD's last album was a disappointment, I was curious to see where this would go.

Walpyrgus play some pretty sweet old-school metal here. This is not NWOBHM at all, as this is a very American recording, with an undercurrent of punk rock and even rockabilly in places made evident in the blaring riffs, direct song structures, and even in the tube-amp guitar sound. That said, this is still very much a metal album, it's just pretty accessible and straight-up. When you combine this kind of punk guitar aesthetic with Tom's lush production, Scott's classic-sounding solos, and Aune's 70s arena-rock vocal stylings, you get a sound that is familiar, yet I can't really pin down any one band it reminds me of.

The longer, more classically metal songs like opener "Dead of Night" and closer "Walpyrgus Nights" are the darkest, most modern-sounding tracks. Then you get shorter, faster cuts like "She Lives" and the album's catchiest tune "Dead Girls" - which ought to be the theme song for a show about vampire biker chicks.

I think this might play better if the recording job was a bit murkier, but Tom is a perfectionist, and he's recorded this album like it was Mozart's "Requiem". It's unusual to hear music this down and dirty produced this lavishly. Aune does a great job harmonizing with himself, and the backing vocals are masterfully done, giving the songs a really glossy sheen. I do wish the album felt more substantial, as it is just 37 minutes long, and that includes a 5-minute cover song. In general, the longer songs come across better, and the shorter ones would be even better if they got more room to breathe and develop. Still, an album with a ton of good stuff on it, even if I think it is a tad overproduced. Worth checking out.

Other related information on the site
Review: Walpyrgus (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Walpyrgus Nights (reviewed by MetalMike)
Interview with guitarist Scott Waldrop, producer/keyboardist Tom Phillips and drummer Peter Lemieux on June 21, 2017 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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