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Astray Valley - Unneth Award winner

Astray Valley
by Emmalyn Campbell at 30 July 2018, 12:18 PM

ASTRAY VALLEY is a Modern Metal/Melodic Metalcore band from Barcelona, Spain. Formed in 2015, the group released their new album, “Unneth,” on June 15th, 2018, which includes 15 tracks. “Entity” is a short atmospheric intro, which uses piano and whispering vocals to open “Hollow,” which attacks with screams, fast drumming, and screeching guitars. Clau Violette is well-suited for both clean and unclean vocals, expertly joining melody and brutality, with music that matches her intensity and presence. “The Wilderness” carries much of its melody in thick riffs, but this couldn’t be possible without the commanding drum and bassline and a chorus that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Parallel Visions” sounds deceptively gentle at first with clean vocals and acoustic guitar, but the full band comes in, the drumming top-notch, the screams fierce, to dispel the chance of this being a ballad. The chorus is not as lights-out as others so far, but it doesn’t detract from the brilliance of the song. “Mera” is an interlude less than a minute long, seamlessly transitioning to “Waters of Skylah,” which has screams with overwhelming authority and a powerhouse chorus in every aspect, making it the best example yet of everything to like about this group’s sound. It sets the bar high, but “Constellations” rises to the occasion, the verses soothing but also radiating with an eerie energy. The guitar solo before the final chorus shows they aren’t afraid to use every bit of talent they possess.

Lun” is another short interlude that reminds me of a pulsing, angry being beneath the earth ready to escape, and it’s released in “Singularity,” where unclean vocals take center stage that are juxtaposed with elements like guitars that warm the song with melody and a soft bridge of rhythmic percussion. “Ethereal” is an instrumental with bass that thumps like a heartbeat and an almost orchestral backing that melts beautifully into the album’s familiar heaviness. “Northlights” feels like it’s over in a heartbeat, and it may be because it follows a less complicated pattern than some of the other tracks, making it a bit underwhelming. “Pathways” is about the same way but doesn’t feel nearly as short, as some parts are brutal, some subdued, but all mesh together well.

The Collapse” doesn’t let up for a second, not in unclean vocals, feverish drumming, nor guitars that constantly adapt to the different tones displayed. The album closes with “Oblivion” and “Polarity,” the verses of the first rich with emotion and the chorus undeniably moving, as the album quietly fades away like a fond memory. ASTRAY VALLEY’S “Unneth” is a work of promising Modern Metal. There are hints of bands like ERRA and NOVELISTS, who take the genre forward with technical prowess, a vision for the future, and the winning formula of beauty and shadow.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Entity
2. Hollow
3. The Wilderness
4. Parallel Visions
5. Mera
6. Waters of Skylah
7. Constellations
8. Lun
9. Singularity
10. Ethereal
11. Northlights
12. Pathways
13. The Collapse
14. Oblivion
15. Polarity
Clau Violette – Vocals, Screams
Joan Aneris – Guitar
Àdri Funérailles – Guitar
Jorge Romero – Bass
Unai Splinters – Drums
Record Label: Worm Hole Death Productions


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Edited 03 December 2022

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