Vircolac – Veneration

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Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Vircolac is a death metal band formed in 2013 by drummer NH (Sol Axis, ex-Kingdom, ex-Lunar Gate, ex-Cruachan) vocalist Laoghaire (ex-Sol Axis) and later guitarist BMC joined the band in 2015. The unique approach of the trio has been cited on their debut EP “The Cursed Travails of the Demeter” it was released in 2016 and followed by the band’s first full-length album “Masque”. However, one can see the similarities to bands like Venenum and early Tribulation, but Vircolac succeeded in crafting something different. Upon listening to the sophomore “Veneration” out via Dark Descent Records on February 23rd, 2024, the atmosphere and the catachrestic heaviness are showcased.

And while the stylistic sound isn’t quite close to the trends of the modern death metal bands today Vircolac offers a genuine take on this genre, the songs are often highly textured with rhythm guitar. Comprising seven new songs the sound is murky with the vocals having similar pitches to black metal bands, though the melodies are well-crafted the songwriting curates many ideas on the track “Veneration”.

Each of these songs has a different composition of elements, mainly inspired by progressive death metal, though the trio has its way of building the songs. This proves that the Irish trio chose a unique approach to create many patterns from the obscured riffs. The music exudes dark, gloomy melodies, whether they emanate from the raspy vocals or the tenebrous tones of the dissonant riffs.

The diversity of songwriting is improvised from the somber guitar riffs, which then leads to some of the darker moments that unfold with organic quality in the track “Unrepentant”. The drums outburst always shifting gears to blast beats then slows down into a blistering mid-tempo riff. The overall sound of Vircolac is raw and organic and funnels plenty of dark atmosphere that emits a sepulchral guitar tone.

Given a grimy song structure, the riffs often sound filthy and the obscure elements involve some atmospheric touches on songs like “Our Burden of Stone on Bone”. Immediately hooks the listener with the eerie song structure despite the sudden breakdowns, the drumming delivers plenty of blast beats providing depth with the constant role of the guitars in adding textural density, this somehow makes the songs sound complex.

Meandering from a murky atmosphere, there is a sheer thrill that fits perfectly with the multiple changes in the pacing of guitars and drums. Vircolac conveys a musky sense of graveyards and gives us an appealing mix of slow and catchy haunting melodies, the guitars are textured with slow morbid blackened death metal riffs.

The melody permeates through the slow passages, and this is where the trio showcases its talent by emphasizing instrumentation. Thus, with a slow darker atmosphere “Veneration” also brings so much diversity from the Irish trio, for example the opening of “All Comes to Pass, Nothing Shall Remain” bludgeons the shit out of you with the blasting drums crushing your skull with heavy reverb. This song is structured with fierce drumming, the riffing then brings the chills to your spine and shrouds you in complete darkness.

Sprawling across a darker atmosphere, each moment segues into a complex song structure and divulges the elements of occult death metal. The instrumentation conveys a brilliant augmentation of styles as they propel the dynamics there is more diversity to be found on the sophomore, and the Celtic roots of black metal music are consecrated and bring to mind bands like Primordial and Cruachan. Musically, Vircolac reveals a fine distinction between bands like Venenum and Tribulation, but what the sophomore delivers is something unique and rather fresh.

The guitar arrangement in the final track, “She is Calling Me (I. War II Death III Redemption)” weaves memorable riffs. The rhythm is spot on highlighting the raw identity of the band, the track begins with a wailing of horrifying screams when the crashing cymbals and pedals kick directly, with elements of death and roll combined the drums convey a thundering experience.

The impressive performance of the guitars and the vocals shows the tremendous talent of this band. Vircolac further displays their obsession with creating many dark themes, where the song builds on many variations from the rhythm, melodies, and dissonance to create horrifying sounds of darkness.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 9/10

“Veneration” aspires beyond the realms of death metal due to the riffing galore and the hooky rhythm and melodies that binds your senses from start to finish, if anything Vircolac’s tendency to re-create its sound has made them crafty with songwriting.

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