Well speak of The Devil and he shall appear! Hardly moments after I mentioned Vlad Tepes in my recent review of Bhaobhan Sidhe do I come across a re-release of this legendary demo on CD from the venerable Drakkar Productions (who has been one of the most consistently solid and true labels for decades now!). Like many a prior re-release, this is one of those moments that make me rejoice like little else can!

This demo has been released and bootlegged plenty of times by now, surfacing randomly and surprisingly at the oddest yet most opportune of times. Raw, underproduced, scratchy, primitive… all the known superlatives apply here! Member of the French “Les Legions Noires” (The Black Legions) black metal collective, Vlad Tepes released several demos and appeared on a few splits yet never gave us a proper full-length album. This demo came out on Full Moon Productions in the mid-90s on cassette and its reputation blossomed from there. The band and the label both threatened each other’s existence in a now legendary feud, and slowly but surely many of the outfits consisting of Les Legions Noires began to crumble and be sent to the annals of history eerily around the same time. This demo gives the feeling of being recorded in a bathroom basement in total darkness surrounded by rust and rats. We also get a five-track rehearsal session from 1993 that is the epitome of hellishly raw sound quality for those of us that crave this very thing.

This is another great day for the metal underground, where a band with a bit of a checkered past once again gets a respectable treatment by a noble label. There are also a few archival photos in the liner notes (somehow I doubt very many even exist as is). Check out this pitch black and festering slab of metal history to grasp what a bygone era truly means and rejoice in its horrendous ways! (FA)