"The Hunger" is the debut album from Vampyrëan. An eleven track opus covering vampyres, werewolves and serial killers, with the music, orchestration, lyrics and vocals done by Vlad Janicek, known also as the bass player of London based band The Nosferatu. The album, lyrically focusing on the macabre, was written by Vlad during the dark days imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with guest vocal contributions from a stellar cast including Chris Pohl (BlutEngel), Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride), Sven Friedrich (Solar Fake), Elisabeth Kotronia (EnGarde) and drums from Jon Siren (IAMX). The album was released on October 29, 2021, digitally and as a CD digipak, with a beautiful 12 page booklet. It also comes in a limited edition with an autographed 12 page laminated lyric book.

 What an appropriate way to start this album with the instrumental "Prelude", a piano piece that has a chilling feel as if risen out of a vampire motion picture score, or some gothic fairytale. Second up is "In Vein", which after a piano intro followed by a heavy guitar riff, we have a classic goth rock track with Vlad’s tormented harsh voice expressing a vampire’s thirst for his fix from his lover. Next comes "Crimson Dreams" that features guest, even harsher vocals by Aaron Stainthorpe of My Dying Bride during the chorus and some ethereal vocals by Elisabeth Kotronia of EnGarde that fit in perfectly with the piano parts. The track has also additional drums by Jon Siren (touring drummer for IAMX). A great catchy track that balances well amongst heavy and romantic textures. The tempo drops on "Blood Countess", another piano driven track that could be described as a cursed romantic ballad. The strings arrangements here really bring to the whole atmosphere of the song. The first single "The Hunger", that follows, was released prior to the album in August. It’s a classic example of 90’s goth rock that brings back memories of the glory days of Nosferatu.

 Halfway we meet "Your Nightmare" that has guest vocals from Chris Pohl of BlutEngel and again additional drumming by Jon Siren. This was the second single that came out in September. Vlad’s and Chris’s voices intervene perfectly on this track. Something expected, since both artist are experts on all things vampiric. "The Beast Within", that begins with a nightmarish melody intro and then turns into a powerful mid tempo track, features once again quest vocals by Aaron Stainthorpe and additional drums by Jon Siren. The heavy guitar riffs give an extra drive to the more haunting and chilling backdrop of the track provided by all the keyboards. While on "Dark Cities", that has a more industrial intro, the beat has more kick to it with a thumping bassline going along it. The outro is also great with the church organ and accompanied choir. Another perfect example of Vlad’s signature songwriting is "Dance Into Darkness", that has all those beloved elements of gothic rock that we grew to know and love. Then follows a great cover of the Tears For Fears track "Watch Me Bleed" (from their classic 1983 debut album "The Hurting") with guest vocals by Sven Friedrich of Solar Fake. A very good and suitable choice, where Sven, who is known for his successful covers over the years, has done a great job delivering the vocals over Vlad’s gothic take instrumentation. Appropriately, the album ends with "Epilogue". Another piano driven track filled with strings and orchestral parts where Vlad expresses the vampires’ necessary retreat into the darkness of the vaults and his tomb as the daybreak comes. Only to return to his love another night.

 Review by Nick Drivas

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