Reviewed: [August 2020]
Released [2020 Self-released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Supernatural Tales is the second full-length from Arizona-based one-man band Vampiric. Self-released less than a year after 2019’s The Magic Of The Night, it shows some notable and impressive growth and lessons learned by master-mind and sole studio member Nik Williams, especially given the short time between. So he would seem to be a quick study.
Everything about Supernatural seems bigger, badder and more assertive, with better production, extra muscle and an approach that this time favors aggression over drama – though plenty of that remains. Indeed, album still echoes the likes of Cradle Of Filth, Mercyful Fate/King Diamond, The Misfits, Dimmu Borgir, Type O Negative and other goth/orchestral/horror-oriented acts in its busy, sweeping keyboards, mournful passages and occasionally moaned vocals – or howls, as the case may be in “The Wolves Of Winter.” But Supernatural also boasts some very definite teeth, if you’ll forgive the vampire pun.
The guitars are given more prominence here, and Williams backs that up with some genuinely mighty riffs that encompass black, thrash and groove metal. “Heart Of Fire” and the above-mentioned “The Wolves Of Winter” recall Exodus or even Pantera in their abundance of quick-hitting, but still bruising hooks.
The surging, more straight-forward “Bloodthirst” and “The Darkness Reborn” on the other hand, sound more like Venom, especially with Williams’ ragged, barking vocals over the top. Even the very Cradle-like “The Embrace Of The Vampire” with it dancing organ strains is studded with chunky verses instead of the more predictable trem sprints, giving it heft instead of mere velocity.
The greater reliance on atmosphere on Night ended up cloaking it with a certain cheesiness. You really can’t say that about Supernatural. There is enough pomp and circumstance here to add character, but not so much as to get in the way. Sure the album does end with the Baroque-like instrumental “The Dawn Is No More,” but something like this almost has to. And here it helps ease things to classic close after all the clamor that came before.