Beneath the Remains, October 2019: Blackwater Holylight, Savage Master, and Vaultwraith
Welcome to Beneath the Remains, the monthly column in which we highlight a few select releases that might otherwise slip under your radar!
It’s time for the best month of the year: Halloween! Here are some metal releases to blast while stealing candy from Trick-or-Treaters.
Blackwater Holylight – Veils of Winter (RidingEasy)
While their self-titled debut didn’t exactly explode with sunshine, Veils of Winter takes Blackwater Holylight’s psychedelic doom deep into the sunless Arctic wastes. This fearsome five-piece tones down on the psychedelia this time around in favor of observing the Sabbath. Their exploration of the darkness takes them to varied places. They perform a Saint Vitus dance on “Seeping Secrets.” They envelop themselves in comforting Jesus and Mary Chain-style fuzz of “Death Realms.” There’s even an Alice Cooper Band monster mash in “Spiders.” The harmonies of the five women in the band help elevate the music beyond just homage. “Lullaby,” the prettiest track on the album, shows this to great effect as their voices unite over shimmering starlight. It’s hard not to fall under their nocturnal spell.
Savage Master – Myth, Magic and Steel (Shadow Kingdom)
Savage Master worship at the altar of 80s mutant metal acts like Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road, the stuff that fell between the cracks of the subgenres as they formed. With stage get-ups consisting of medieval bondage gear (in the case of singer Stacey Savage) and leather vests-and-executioner-hood combos (in the case of everyone else), they truly embody the spirit of a time when metal bands embraced the cheese. Myth, Magic and Steel doesn’t stray from their raw trad metal rumble. They follow their throwback aesthetic to a fault, down to the rough production, but it doesn’t matter with songs this good. “Flyer in the Night” and “Lady of Steel” bring both the swords and the sorcery in grand fashion.
Vaultwraith – Light the Candle in Honour of Devils (Hells Headbangers)
While not as awesome as the cover for their 2017 effort, Death is Proof of Satan’s Power, the artwork for Light the Candle in Honour of Devils still captures that old time EC Comics spirit. As near as I can tell, it might be about a demon who burned down a coastal fort to rescue his undead beloved, but they could also just be out for a pleasure cruise with the Grim Reaper providing musical accompaniment. Everyone deserves a romantic getaway sometimes. What you see is really what you get here — Alucarda Bellows, The Warlock, Baron Blood, and Esteban Walpurgis summon some ripping black ‘n’ roll to tell their schlock horror tales about evil sorceresses and other medieval Satanic shenanigans. It’s even a loose concept album, in case you feel like looking for thematic connections between “Charnal Infamy” and “All the Black Arts at Her Command.” Of course it comes out on Halloween.