Austrian gravediggers Transilvania started crafting their moonlit black metal in 2014. Following the promise of their Morbid Majesty demo, their The Night of Nights debut further demonstrated Transilvania’s notable songwriting prowess. Their bloodletting riffs balance the dark melodies of Emperor and Unanimated with the skin-flaying fury of Nifelheim’s black thrash. Now Transilvania have crept from their crypts again for their sophomore LP, Of Sleep and Death. Decibel Magazine has an exclusive stream before the album’s January 1st release from Invictus Productions.
Of Sleep and Death wakes with ominous organs and the distant droning of mad monks. When the dormant guitars emerge from slumber they bring black death with them. The album’s first single “Hekateion” starts with dizzying dissonance before introducing dusky, melodic guitar leads. The title track sprints from the grave in a burst of hellfire before a triumphant mid-song divergence. The compositions are crisp without feeling like they’re cut from a second-wave template. The moonlight sorcery present on Transilvania’s initial demo remains potent. This isn’t a band who washed away the blood and grime while polishing their sound. Whether it’s the show-stopping stomp of “Mortpetten” or the finale’s nocturnal sprawl, Transilvania creates black metal that’s primal without being primitive. Combined with the album’s grotesquely brilliant cover art, Of Sleep and Death starts 2021 as the year’s first must-listen black metal record.
Join Transilvania’s furious funeral procession and stream Of Sleep and Death below.
Decibel Magazine interview with Transilvania
What changes to your sound did you want to make between 2018’s The Night of Nights and Of Sleep and Death?
Transilvania: We wanted to create a more consistent atmosphere through the whole album and focus more on connections between single parts of the songs.
You released the fantastic anthem “Hekateion” as the album’s first single in October. What made that song the best example of the album to share early?
T: “Hekateion” is that one song that unites all components of our new all album best. It’s a straight-forward composition to get the attention of the listener and arouse interest in our new album.
Apart from other music, what inspires you as writers and artists?
T: During the songwriting we’ve read a lot of medieval folklore from all around Europe, especially the eastern part. But it wasn’t just myths gave us the inspiration for the album; also images of places where atrocities once happened.
I love the scathing album cover artwork that invokes medieval Catholic paintings. Was that style a request from the band, or an idea pitched by artist Jaime Pascual Sanz?
T: The idea of a cover like this originated in the very early days of Transilvania, but couldn’t be implemented until we met Jaime Pascual Sanz. He has the style of painting we were looking for, and he has quite the same imagination of death and damnation which we wanted on the cover. Therefore you can say that the artwork builds up in a collaboration between band and artist.
What does Transilvania have planned for 2021 and beyond?
T: That depends on how the current situation of the branche changes in the next couple of weeks and months. If there won’t be a chance to play the new album live, we definitely won’t stand still. We’ll go on with the songwriting for the next release. But of course we want to be on stage first and present our new songs live.