Hailing from the mountainous land of Austria, Transilvania deliver an untainted form of black metal which, to a certain degree, reminds the listener of classic bands of yore such as Dissection, Emperor and Mercyful Fate. Of Sleep and Death – Transilvania’s second full-length since their macabre inception back in 2014 – succeeds in emulating the above mentioned bands without bringing much new to the table….which serves as a double-edged sword in itself.
“Vault of Evening” stands out as a clear homage to Emperor, “Hekateion” whips up a suitably nightmarish storm while album highlight, “Lycanthropic Chant”, is the sonic equivalent of wandering the paths of Gévaudan at night only to have your heart ripped out by a werewolf – in a good way – with the guitar riffing that starts around the two minute mark reminding the listener of the blistering satanic melodies of Mercyful Fate. Finally, album closer “Underneath Dying Stars” is about as close we can get to Dissection-worship, title and all.
The aforementioned tracks, while technically good and well-written, highlight the problem facing this band and many others like it; a lack of originality. As previously acknowledged, Transilvania fail to bring anything new to the table which leads to the album being rather forgettable when compared to the current crop of retro-style black/thrash metal albums available. To put it simply, everything on Of Sleep and Death has already been done, and done better, by Dissection and Emperor and their ilk.
To summarise, what we have here is a very serviceable ode to past black metal legends that any fan of the classics would do well to check out – if only to avoid re-listening to Storm of the Light’s Bane for the millionth time (which we wouldn’t blame you for, that album rules!). Fortunately, the variety from track to track keeps the listener engaged through the 50 minute long running time while at the same time reminding them of some of the most seminal albums of the genre. All in all, Transilvania’s Of Sleep and Death comes recommended for any listener looking for a fix of that old-school, no-frills flavour of black metal but don’t go looking for ingenuity…..as you won’t find it here! 7/10