Anthologie Noire’ is a double CD compilation gathering well over two hours’ worth of material from five hard-to-get demos plus a rehearsal. ‘The Return Of The Unweeping’, ‘Celtic Poetry’, ‘Into Frosty Madness’ and ‘Dans Notre Chute…’ were also each released on 12” LP around the same time (last month) and – even though these records cost only €12 each – they were still prohibitively expensive to acquire as a collective in the vinyl format once the cost of shipment was factored into the equation.

Why not put them all on one double LP for €18? After all, we are in the midst of a global fucking recession! The elite nature of Black Metal was never meant to be due to the fact that people can’t afford it. Fuck me ragged.

Anyway, rant over. I decided to wait and go for the budget option and, as the 2CD also includes ‘The Black Legions’ and ‘Rehearsal’ as bonuses (Is bonus the right word? I mean, if somebody punches you four times and then kicks you twice, are the kicks bonuses?), this was really a no-brainer. Trust me, I’m not dumb enough to put vinyl ahead of compact disc if it’s going to cost me almost €50 extra (including postage – and with less songs) to do so!

Must say, I’d be sickened if I’d bought the records because some of the music on here is total garbage. Quality-wise, ‘Anthologie Noire’ captures (a bit of) the best and (a lot of) the worst of Vlad Tepes, so it’s a fair enough representation of their history. Fluctuating from some utter dross to rare moments of inspiration, this is a triumph for quantity over quality (if for anything – maybe I should say a defeat for quality at the hands of quantity…).

For those who love Vlad Tepes unconditionally (what an unfortunate affliction that would be), it’s a great way to catch up with a bucketload of rare material in one go. For the rest of us, we are at least getting lots of material for the relatively-modest (compared to the vinyl) price of admission (even if much of what we’re getting is – for want of a better word – shit).

Evilometer: 222/666