Dracula - Open Graves At Midnight – demo tape – (Heavy Chains, 2013)
Dracula. What a perfect heavy metal name. You would think there are at least 60 bands with this name, but I checked the Metal Archives to find out there are/were only 2 bands with this name, one from Romania – they never released anything… - and Dracula from Tasmania, the subject of our review.
I came from the land where the myth of Dracula and vampires were born, so why not give it a try to this demo? Released in the last days of 2013, this demo was one of the best releases of the previous year for me. Just look at the almost childish drawing of the tape cover and you’re instantly soaring back to your childhood. Maybe this is why I listened like 40 times these 4 songs, without getting bored.
Ok, let’s talk about the music. I enjoy a lot this tape, although it contains pretty unoriginal heavy metal.
Intro + 3 “real songs” = 14 minutes of old school occult heavy metal. The first song has the brilliant title “Intro” and that’s the most intro-ish song I heard in years. Sounds of raining and thundering in the sky with a crypt-like synthesizer melody you heard in those Dario Argento movies in the 70s and in the end a 200 hundred years old oaken door creakingly opens. 2nd “real” track is “Castle in the Darkness”, another great song title which reminds me of King Diamond’s Black Rose, as you smart reader already know was the band before King Diamond. It’s not exactly classic heavy metal, but more than hard rock, it’s that rockish horror pre-heavy metal stuff from 1980.
“Posessor” has similarly early 80s riffing, like Pagan Altar or Manilla Road with very nice audible bass-lines and a guitar reminding me of the more direct and simple songs of The Devil’s Blood. This song besides has a memorable refrain where the vocalist sings if I hear well “In leeaaague with Saaaaatan!” I must say a word about the guitar solo in this song: is the type of “solos” I played in high-school in our typical high-school band, when you didn’t knew if you are playing punk or heavy metal, or what-not. Wolves is the last song and the most King Diamondish one, good speedy starting with nice leads, totally King Diamond worship on the vocal part, but very catchy, excellent guitar themes, the high vocals are mixed with the low, devilish ones, like master King Diamond does. The guitar solo though is not as killer as an Andy LaRocque solo, but more enthusiastic amateur, like the other ones on this demo, which makes it perfect.
Totally old school sound, like a demo from the early 80s, King Diamond haunting in every corner, totally old fashioned demo cover, all this released on tape with a violet logo. It may sound unprofessional and maybe it is, or maybe it is intended to be this way. Nevertheless, this tape made me more than just triggering nostalgia, it moves me every time I listen to it. A good shot for those into that early heavy metal, but prefer the real raw occult crypt sound and not the over-produced bands like Ghost or the latest In Solitude.
The band doesn’t have a website, FB or anything, this tape’s second edition is also sold out, but you can check the record label, they have a few exciting bands: http://heavychainsrecords.wordpress.com
by Rob, June 2014, rating: 8/10