Review 1483 : Virgil – Acheron – English

Virgil is back to strike with their second album.

After offering a debut EP in 2017, followed by an album in 2020, the band consisting of Marius Vantomme (vocals), Julian Baquero (guitar), Charles Konieczna (bass), Thomas Fontaine (guitar) and David Blanquart (drums) sign with Source Atone Records to announce the release of Acheron.

The band kicks off with Acheron, a short self-titled introduction which reveals mysterious tones before letting Black Feathers crush us with a heavy mix of Black Metal, Deathcore and Post Metal. The pure aggression infused with epic and dissonant sounds perfectly fits with the unleashed screams feeding the apocalyptic atmosphere before Eternity takes over with a haunting sound which still remains heavy as ever. We have some effective catchy patterns which will make us nod, then piercing leads join the hazy sound before the rhythmic drives us to Cocyte and its warlike jerky riffs. The sound suddenly speeds up, letting the more aggressive influences and double kick mix with screams before braking again, pacing the track with a hellish energy just like on Nil and its frantic icy riffs, which will sometimes let softer parts soothe us before nailing us down again. The album continues with Immaculate and its disturbing sounds which gradually turn into catchy and energetic riffs while keeping a rather ethereal dimension before Charon comes to offer us a short moment of respite with a sweet melody. Fury will resurface with Hunt, an extremely aggressive composition which couples dissonance to wild patterns, creating a catchy and wide contrast before Martyr comes to bury us under its dissonant and suffocating darkness. Riffs make us suffocate until they suddenly fade away to give way to Mother, a more aggressive composition which knows how to take advantage of the Black Metal influences and orchestrations to reveal more majestic sounds. Melancholy will invite itself in the final part before Soreness takes over to crush with a very aggressive recipe with multiple influences, but the track is quite short, and the storm will quickly lead us to Ignis, the last composition, which exploits its quite Old School roots to spread its airy melodies and its devastating jerky rhythmic until the last moment, not without bewitching us with shrilling harmonics.

Virgil‘s apocalyptic sound nails us to the ground in no time, eradicating everything in its path with a mix of Black Metal and Deathcore infused with various influences to make Acheron a highly contrasted but indispensable album.


Version Française ?

Few questions to Julian Baquero, guitarist of the band Virgil, for the release of their new album, Acheron.

Hello and first of all thank you for your time! How would you present the band Virgil without using the usual « Metal » labels ?
Julian Baquero (guitar): It’s an extreme music band that focuses its universe on the primitive and deep feelings of men, an obsession that we push to its paroxysm.

Where does the name of the band come from, and how do you relate it to the music you play?
Julian: The name of the band comes from Virgil, the poet who accompanies Dante in Hell. We like the idea of being the person who accompanies the listener/viewer into the abyss.

Your second album, Acheron, is about to be released, how do you feel about it?
Julian: We’re looking forward to it. We’ve been working on this album for over 2 years. We’re happy with the final product, whether it’s for the writing of the songs, the sound production of the album, the lyrics or even our imagery, we really want a maximum of people to listen to it, to share it and to offer intense live sets! 

How could you summarize Acheron in three words ?
Julian : Dark, Violent, Dangerous.

How was the composition process? As well as the writing of the lyrics?
Julian : We started working a bit before the lockdowns, each time in waves of 2 or 3 songs. Each time we start from a riff, an intention or a very precise idea that we exploit to the maximum. Afterwards we go back and forth between us and in rehearsal. Marius proposes us a text, a thematic and we advance piece after piece. Each piece is recorded several times. It allows us to take a step back on our music, our sound and it allows us to maintain a direction and to compose the arrangements with more precision.

What about the the artwork, how was the collaboration with the artist?
Julian : It was a crazy experience! Tell you that there is no retouching on the picture, everything is « real ». The liquid, the fabric, the different textures that make up the background. There is half a day of installation and a whole night of shooting to make tests until the excellent Kalimba says to us « it is good I have it! We are very proud of his work, he did an incredible job and we must also congratulate our model who endured a shooting and very intense conditions to create this cover.

When I listen to the album, I feel an apocalyptic mix between Black Metal, Deathcore and Post elements, how do you manage to mix all your influences to create crushing but coherent riffs?
Julian: We think it comes from our songwriting process. We all listen to very different stuff, we take our time and we don’t set limits. There is no ego problem in the composition. We just keep the riffs and structures that most people like and move on. We had a goal from the beginning and we tried to keep this direction from the beginning to the end. For us Acheron is a huge evolution of the sound and the direction that Virgil is going in.

What is the track that speaks to you the most personally?
Julian: Mother without any hesitation. Besides being very well written, it has everything we wanted to do in 4 minutes.

I’ve watched some of the band’s live videos, we can see an evolution of your visual identity, how did it happen?
Julian : Little by little, we wanted to push the cursor a little more, to create an identity, an atmosphere. Since Divina Infernum we wanted to go further in the music and at the same time work visually on our musical atmosphere. The idea is to push the live experience, we must bring something more than the CD.

You have recently signed with Source Atone Records, how is the collaboration going?
Julian : Great! They listen to us and trust us. We are very happy to have signed with them and to live with them this album release. Especially because in the roster of the label we appreciate a lot the music of other bands.

Since 2020, Covid-19 crisis fucked a lot of things up, how did you face the situation as a band? Did it have an impact on the album?
Julian: The pandemic had a positive effect on the album, actually. It allowed us to take time on the compositions, on the arrangements, on the idea we had for this second opus. Obviously, for Divina, we had started to play a bit everywhere in the country, and the Covid pulled the rug out from under us! But it’s only a postponement! 

Do you already have plans for the future of the band ? Whether it’s for live dates, or even something else?
Julian : We’re starting to play live again, and we’re happy to have associations and organizers who spontaneously contact us to offer us plans and places to play. It allows us to reconnect with the world of live, and to meet new artists and our public at the same time.

What is your view on the current French scene? And what about the international scene?
Julian : On the French scene, there is a lot of talent, but sometimes too little promotion in France. About the international scene, it’s hard to say, there are so many albums coming out, even if there were some incredible discoveries again this year.

Are there any bands or musicians you would like to collaborate with, whether for one track or more?
Julian: We have already thought about it. But our music being very personal and intense I think it would not serve the purpose. If one day we have an interesting artistic encounter or a crush, why not? We never put barriers, we just have to find the right formula.

What are the bands of the French scene that you think you must listen to in 2022?
Julian : Stengah with their album Soma Sema, Akiavel, Embrace your Punishement, The Great Old Ones, Regarde les Hommes Tomber, Enthroned (well they are Belgian)… 

Do you feel like you have improved as musicians since the previous album?
Julian : Sure we do! The Covid had this positive effect on us, it allowed us to take more time on the compositions and therefore to refine our writing a little more and to practice our instruments better.

Is there an artist with whom you would like to collaborate ? Whether it is for a track, an album, an artwork…
Julian : Virgil has been working with a crew since the beginning. These men and women behind the scenes benefit enormously from the constant improvement of our project and we love working with these exceptional people who bring a real added value to the band. As said before, we are never closed to collaborations if it allows us to progress. 

If I asked you which French dish you could compare Virgil‘s music to, which one would you choose ? Why would you choose that?
Julian: The Welsh (from home), it looks slimy, and yet we still enjoy eating it!

Last question: which bands would you like to tour with? I’ll let you create a tour with three bands, plus Virgil as an opener.
Julian: Gojira, Behemoth, Der Weig Einer Freiheit.

Thanks again for your availability, I’ll leave you the last words!
Julian: Thanks to you for your time! Thanks to all the interest in our project. And see you soon in the pit!

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