Fire, evil, and violence pretty much make up metal’s triptych, three elements that definitely let the music’s creators get out their nastiest vibe and unleash the worst possible feelings. It can be a healing thing, so that one does not go out into real life and do those things for real, or for venting said frustration to bring down one’s anger. We’ve all been there, right?
If you want unbridled destruction and hellish fury, Valdur pretty much have you covered on their third album “At War With,” a pulverizing late-year entry into the 2013 metal canon. You can’t hear this record and possibly think anything other than these guys have the darkest, most vile of intentions, and they bring that to the forefront on this new collection. This is a band that’s never minced words when it comes to their songs and always have found the most pulverizing ways to get their inner demons out and onto record or the stage, and their style of black and death metal is uncompromising, dirty, and unapologetically violent.
The three who comprise this band–guitarist/vocalist Samuel (who joined the fold in 2012), bassist William, and drummer Matthew–really have it in for you on “At War With,” their follow-up to 2010’s stellar “Raven God Amongst Us.” Their blackened death is infernal and sooty, kind of like early-era Incantation, and everything they do on this record is designed to destroy and maim you, physically and mentally. These 10 cuts are not for the weak of heart, and they completely demolish everything with these war anthems that celebrate death, blasphemy, and evil in ways that should keep you entertained–and a little terrified–for close to an hour. Can’t really ask for more than that, can you?
The album opens with intro cut “Enter,” a short burst of sound that sets the stage of fright and leads into the first mauler “Conjuring the Fire.” That cut rips right into raw black metal chaos, furious growls from Samael, and some searing melodies that lie underneath and hide within the murk. It’s mean and nasty, and it provides a healthy dose for what’s to come. “Death Winds Will Cleanse” begins with sinister guitar work that leaves trails of blood, along with a crushing tempo that could batter you live or just through your headphones. There’s an eerie texture, some wild howls and growls, and a final sequence that speeds out of control before it drowns in a pool of noise. “Incantre” is a purely filthy blast of death, as ugly and guts-ridden as anything else out there, and it should make fans of old school sounds feel warm and gross inside. The track trudges through muck, dissonant melodies create a halo effect, and everything else is splattered with thrash. “Vast” begins with echoing chants that seem to key the beginning of a ritual, while the song fades in, stays weird and warped, and fades back out into a nightmarish fog.
“At War With the Old World” is a 7:55 blast of madness, first opening with guitars that remind of heyday Slayer before going for pure black metal strangulation. Strange melodies mix with destructive force, and hellish fury slips into muddy, crusty death metal. But just when you think noise is going to swallow this whole, the band breaks out for a galloping last few minutes that just rip. “The Calm Before War” has simmering guitars, a mashing disposition, hissing chaos, and even a helping of pure doom metal that mixes its black streaks in perfectly. “Hellish Dischord” is another wordless entry, other than the clips used from the classic film “Blade Runner,” and the band does its best to conjure ancient smoke and apocalyptic bells that truly feel like the world is folding in on itself. “Hammer Pit” ignites from the start and is one of the ugliest, nastiest cuts on the album, with drumming that feels like its being done to the sides of your head, some crazed blasts of death metal barnstorming, burly punishment, throaty vocals that are set to kill, and church bells and thunder that cement their desire for Armageddon. Closing instrumental “Outro (Creation Part II),” that bridges with the final track on “Raven God,” is just strange, with clock alarms jarring you awake, fiery guitars gasping their final breaths of annihilation, and melody and horns setting themselves on fire and bringing forth poisonous wafts of black smoke. Whether you inhale them or not, it doesn’t matter. You’re doomed.
Valdur’s re-emergence is a fantastic late-year treat that serves to fill that void of anger and disengagement with society that may be darkening your heart and probably peaking right about now. This is a massive band that has remained under the radar far too long and is ready to scorch everything in the underground so they can blaze their own hellish trail. “At War With” is the band’s best record yet, and it’ll leave you burnt inside but potentially a little less inclined to wander outside and create your own chaos.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/valdur/54163319709
To buy the album, or for more on the label, go here: http://bloodymountainrecords.bandcamp.com/