Malokarpatan
Vertumnus Caesar

There’s no argument that this summer has been the hottest the planet has ever experienced. Temperatures soared into the hundreds and a desperate population searched for any relief from the blistering heat. However it’s fall now (meteorologically speaking) and an album to fit the changing season is needed. Enter Malokarpatan and their fourth full-length Vertumnus Caesar, an incredible piece of atmospheric Blackened NWOBHM. With hooks and hits, drawing on influences from the best that the Baltic region has produced.

After the subtle piano intro of “Na okraji priepaste otevíra sa hviezdny zámek” Malokarpatan kick into high gear, showing so much love for Mercyful Fate that it could be Denner and Sherman, but it’s not just that and in no way are they doing it as parody; Malokarpatan are deadly fucking serious about their Blackened NWOBHM and instead of making a sterile clone, they have created a fun album that might inspire a St. Vitus whirlwind of dancing.

That’s what you get with this album: possession. It possesses your mind; “Kočár postupuje temnomodrými dálavami na juhozápad” and “Vertumnus Caesar” are beastly tracks, the former being a hefty Mercyful Fate-influenced track and the latter being a bastard child of Beherit and Masters Hammer, which doesn’t stop there it keeps going in the best possible way in “Vovnútri chlácholivého útočišta kunstkamru” before the band gets all cosmic and the album gets its first true polka beat in the psychedelia of instrumental “Panstvo salamandrov jest v kavernách zeme” which reminds me of “Genesis” from Ghost’s Opus Eponymous. It has that soaring emotional hook that Malokarpatan nails perfectly, all the while injecting the song with a traditional influence that takes it beyond a new level.

I have so much love for this album, it’s got some truly epic passages within it’s Gothic stone walls, Iron Maiden cavorts in the shadows with the epic closer “I hle, tak zachádza imperiálna hviezda” this 10 minute galloping track that’s just holy shit bonkers.

In a year that has, quite frankly been a huge win for Slovakia, Finland, and of course Norway, can’t forget Norway… the grandeur that is Vertumnus Caesar must be experienced as a whole volume to itself, Malokarpatan are a band I’ll be checking out their discography fairly soon. I urge you, constant reader to do the same and while you’re at it pick up Vertumnus Caesar, you will not be disappointed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
October 23rd, 2023

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