Wednesday 24 February 2021

Transilvania - Of Sleep And Death

Labels: Invictus Productions

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 01 Jan 2021


1. Opus Morbi

2. Hekateion

3. Of Sleep And Death

4. Lycanthropic Chant

5. Vault Of Evening

6. Heart Harvest

7. Mortpetten

8. Underneath Dying Stars

It's amazing what a few days back amongst the rat race can do to a person. I was all set to write about this, the second (and newest) full-length from Austrian black/thrash band Transilvania over the weekend, but I caught a case of writers block. Thankfully, I've had the time to lament that and here we are. In their current form, this quartet has been alive since 2014, but they actually date back to 2010 when they went by the name Epidermis, before being re-named Old Skull in 2014. Later that year the name Transilvania stuck and things have been that way ever since. Of Sleep And Death was released in January via Invictus Productions on multiple formats.

Black/thrash has always been a double-edged sword for me. It’s brought forth the pace and exhilaration that I get from thrash metal, but has always skimped on the atmospherics of black metal. Maybe I’m missing the point, as I know a lot of people refer to it as war metal (if I’m correct) and that gives it a whole new meaning. I’m intrigued to here what Transilvania do though, as their songs seem to be longer. Off that bat, album opener ‘Opus Morbi’ is filled with choral and orchestral effects and when all members properly get going, their music is definitely more akin to folkish black metal with tempos turned up to 11. The other thing that strikes me on initial listen is the volume of the recording, which seems a little low in comparison.

‘Hekateion’ is a blasting piece that seems to draw in much more urgency, while added melody creeps into the music. Black metal is still very much the driving force genre-wise, but thrash is always just around the corner permeating through. The album’s title-track ‘Of Sleep And Death’ continues along the same, more uptempo track with Transilvania’s thrash metal influence gaining more ground. The reverb in the vocals adds a layer of foreboding texture too. The levels still seem a bit out to me though overall, but that’s not a criticism at all, especially when they bring out the upbeat folk-metal melodies for a short time later on.

Transilvania clearly care about the momentum of their albums and ‘Lycanthropic Chant’ is definitely up to the task. This time, modern melodic riffs are employed to take their extreme sound in a more (subtle) catchy direction. It’s probably a travesty calling this a catchy album but every record has it’s moments and the further you get into Of Sleep And Death, the more you’ll grow to love it. The main thing I love about this record is the riffs. They’re so infectious on ‘Vault Of Evening’ that they really make it come alive as a song. There’s also a much more consistent sound level now too, which contributes so much to the recording as well. Especially when Transilvania goes all 80s psych/alternative in the mid-section. So good! ‘Heart Harvest’ is a maddening, off-kilter number that really makes use of it’s playing time, with Transilvania injecting so much musicality into it. 

Their raging barbarity once again takes flight on penultimate song ‘Mortpetten’, which is much more black/war metal orientated. As such, it still retains a real driving tempo but it’s atmosphere is also a lot more prominent. By definition, it’s a heavy song but much like the rest of the album, it’s catchy and attention grabbing throughout. The album closer ‘Underneath Dying Stars’ is the most beguiling track on Of Sleep And Death and as such is well worth sticking around for. While I may not be the most kvlt of reviewers, I know what I like and this site is dedicated to it. I’m not paid to write any reviews, I do this out of genuine love and enthusiasm, both of which have been well and truly stoked by Transilvania, and this record. Ramble over, go forth and spread the word!

You can stream and purchase Of Sleep And Death digitally from Transilvania below:-

Physical copies on all formats can be purchased from Invictus Productions via their bandcamp page - and via their site here -

Transilvania -

Invictus Productions -

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