Vltimas – Epic

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International blackened death metal five-piece Vltimas takes a giant leap with their sophomore “Epic” set for a release date on March 15th via Season of Mist. Fronted by bassist/vocalist David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel), guitarist Rune "Blasphemer" Eriksen (ex-Mayhem, Aura Noir) and drummer Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), bassist Ype Terwisscha van Scheltinga (ex-Dodecahedron) and guitarist João Duarte (Corpus Christii), embrace their collective talents to offer a defining moment in the band’s career. Vltimas proved in its 2019 debut “Something Wicked Marches In” that they are a force to be reckoned with, and the follow-up album is another step forward in the right direction.

After the intro “Volens Discordant” the guitar builds on chunky riffs and slow dark rhythm providing an ideal sonic vision for the band on the album’s title track “Epic”. The overall sound is more coherent, with the bombarding drums heavily fortified as they are focused to bring a fierce and powerful atmosphere. Some of the elements presented on the previous album are strongly focused, David Vincent’s vocals are brutal, and they’ve gotten better on the sophomore, his vocals are given more space as they sound sinisterly evil.

Regarding the guitar department, which is led by guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen and João Duarte, churns out a firm mixture of technical and chaotic blackened death metal riffs with heavy distortions. The searing tremolos along with the blasting drums in the track “Miserere” simply showing the technical abilities of drummer Flo Mounier.

Aside from the pounding double bass, some fierce blasting sections contrast against the bass lines, but the deep growling is enhanced by lead-driven guitars to flow well with the ramping drum beats. Calculated technicality mesh well with the dark singing performance of David Vincent giving the songs a fantastic listening experience, and at times the shredding solos remind me of Morbid Angel.

Other songs like “Exercitus Irae” begin with a devastating drumming that exemplifies the virtuoso of drummer Flo Mounier. The album is mostly played at a mid-paced tempo to highlight the quintet’s songwriting prowess, we get to hear plenty of mechanical hammering beats and brutal riffing carrying the weight dramatically. “Epic” has equal elements of slow chugging and fast riffing there are some sludgy mid-tempo riffs, but the song structure has more depth and catchy riffs that make it energetically brutal and engaging.

For the pacing of the music, the sophomore has a fierce and relentless approach, though the drums don’t always utilize blast beats. The main emphasis shows off the talent and the peak songwriting can be heard on the track “Mephisto Manifesto” which is amongst the heaviest ones. Combining brutal chugging precise drumming delivery to conjure a dark atmosphere and laden melodies dripping like sludge, one can only marvel at the fiendish and diabolical tonality of the riffs.

The drums then pick up the pace, with heavier guitar chords speeding up and ushered by the wicked growling of David Vincent. The guitars are obscure and amalgamated with constant rhythms and tremolos pushing the quality for a relentless and somewhat classic 90s tonality to add a barbarous scale to fit the standards of death metal, but Vltimas managed to convey a fair sense of balance between brutality and atmosphere.

The elements of black metal on the track “Scorcher” bring the trademark riffing of guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen sounding raw and contagious backed by unstoppable blast beats, the band’s elaborate effort sounds majestically powerful in their complexity.

Epic” showcases its take on blackened death metal by incorporating aggression and malignity, it is clear that Vltimas has utilized catchy hooks on the album. “Invictus” features some catchy guitars of course there is no dispute about the drumming on this fucking song, we get plenty of double bass, and awe-inspiring melodies are surprisingly sound catchy on this track.

Nature’s Fangs” is a clear manifestation of the songwriting performance that can be deemed as flawless. It immediately shifts the focus to a relentless aggression, the guitars are persistently dark, and with the robust riffing using dissonance and wicked dark melodies, the lead guitars are catchy and convey some fine quality.

The sophomore is excellent at bringing plenty of head-banging moments for fans of Morbid Angel, Mayhem, and Cryptopsy, the final track “Spoils of War” infuses the slower crushing drums and thunderous riffing. Albeit slow and atmospheric the dark aura permeates the song, the main highlight is the roaring vocals which convey a sinister and majestic feel throughout the overridden solos and dynamics shifting midway through the song.


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

Vltimas’ second full-length album “Epic” sees the quintet extending its versatility and performance to ultimate levels of brutality, evilness, and atmosphere, this is a monstrous record that delivers what you expect from these veterans.

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