By Andrew Bansal • The Vigils have been a fixture in the Los Angeles local rock ‘n roll scene for several years, a band that instantly made a long-lasting impression upon first listen, and compelled me to venture out to dive bars and venues I’d never been to, just to keep seeing their live performances. Things are strange in 2021, but one thing is for certain, the Vigils still rock. And even better, they do so with an old-school heavy metal tinge that should be right up the alley for readers of this site.
2013 seems a long, long time ago, particularly taking into account what the world looks and feels like in 2021. But that was the year I saw The Vigils for the first time at a bar in Hollywood, the strength of their performance and the standout qualities of their musicianship combining to ensure that I made a note to go back to see the band as often as humanly possible.
Yes, most people would call them a rock ‘n roll band, which they are, and as do I, but through that first-time experience, it seemed to me like deep down there was some NWOBHM influence, at least in frontman Daniel Cieplinski’s vocals and on-stage demeanor. Sure enough, upon talking to him it quickly became evident that he is quite a fan of that sub-genre of heavy music.
In the years that followed, whenever I made a social media post about Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the like, DC would often pop up out of nowhere with an insightful, interesting and informed comment. As for The Vigils, they continued to stay more on the rock side of things, but finally, the band’s new single scratches that NWOBHM itch.
I’m hereby pleased to premiere “A Midnight Wing”, a song that certainly retains The Vigils’ unmistakable rock ‘n roll vibe, but is undoubtedly reminiscent of early ’80s heavy metal, with the collective sonic output, and in particular with the guitar parts. Def Leppard’s magnificent High ‘N Dry album comes to mind straightaway.
The song and the video carry a dark, somber aura perhaps very fitting with the world we’ve been living in over the past year. It’s also very quintessentially Los Angeles, in the fact that we see Cieplinski around the LA river in the first half of the video, and it’s safe to assume that the footage of the band on stage was taken somewhere in LA. The Vigils’ sound alone is very LA in itself, and this video drives home the point.
Sonically, “A Midnight Wing” showcases The Vigils’ longstanding musical prowess along with some elements previously not evident in their sound, and visually, it is quite a trip down memory lane, bringing in focus the sharp contrast between life in 2021 and that of brighter times past. Somber in tone but uplifting in spirit, The Vigils’ newest offering is equal parts rock ‘n roll and NWOBHM, and a compelling one at that.