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Valar Morghulis – Fields Of Ashes

Valar Morghulis
Fields Of Ashes
by Joseth Radiant at 14 January 2020, 11:02 PM

Throughout the history of the world, when you get around mountains of any type, an interesting thing happens. Myths, folk legends, and monsters of all kinds seem to sprout up and arise in the imaginations of those that reside near them. This certainly true for VALAR MORGHULIS, as they reside in Milan, the great northern Italian city nestled near the Alps. "Fields Of Ashes" marks their debut album, and a band name such as theirs, which is borrowed the Game of Thrones episode of the same name, it’s incredibly obvious that they will tell the tales and sing the songs of times and places both ancient and fantastical. Let’s dig in and see what’s on offer.

First of all, he needs to be sad that this debut album does sound a little bit like a debut album. The production is lacking in only a few areas, but it’s not detracting enough to make the album unlistenable. That aside, this album does a successful job at bringing you into the world of the song and makes you wonder what they’re singing about. I’m actually impressed by their songwriting as it paints a vivid picture in the mind about the song’s subject throughout the album from start to finish. Since the lyrics are in English and they are Italian, there is that slight awkwardness of words being used that a person that was raised speaking English isn’t used to hearing in lyrics. However, when you zoom out and you get a grasp of what they’re actually singing about and how they’ve put the songs together, it’s immensely satisfying. Yes, they sing about familiar subjects to us as metal fans (i.e. Vikings, Rome, nightmares, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, Game of Thrones, etc…), but overall, they succeed in being storytellers, which is something that is Always challenging as a songwriter. There are more than a few artists that are guilty of trying to copy a particular sound or lyrical style. But here, VALAR MORGHULIS is determined to be themselves and no one else.

In regards to the musical performances, I find that there is a lot to enjoy on this album. The refs on here really propel the songs forward without being cliché or redundant. There are enough elements from Power Metal and Black Metal that really add a lot of variety throughout the songs. Lorenzo and Luca’s guitar playing really complement each other, and neither one oversteps the other to make all of these songs incredibly powerful. I personally would have enjoyed hearing a few more guitar solos as a few of the songs could have benefited from some face-melting solos. I’m thinking of songs such as “Where The Blackfish Dwell” and the song that will certainly get the crowd singing along with the chorus in “To The Walls”. Now bear in mind, dear reader, I am a guitar player that happens to be a bit biased about guitar, but the lack of guitar solos isn’t a major deterrent from enjoying this album. Rob and Valerio’s bass playing and drumming add a solid heft to the rhythm section. One thing about this album that really does impress me as that all of the instruments are locked in together. I was pleasantly to find that from start to finish, there’s none of that awkward sloppiness that could be found on most debut albums.

To me, there are two types of debut albums. The first kind it is a debut album that does not sound like a debut album because everybody is creatively firing on all cylinders or we are each member has enough professional experience to be able to record a top-notch album. The second type of debut album is where everyone is creatively firing on all cylinders, the recording quality doesn’t have that pristine and polished feel of larger acts, but it’s an album that a group can build upon as a band that is worth monitoring as their career progresses. "Fields Of Ashes" would fit into the latter category. If they keep honing their craft and improving on what they were able to accomplish here, VALAR MORGHULIS Will quickly establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Heavy Metal scene. Keep your eyes and ears on this upcoming act, and as always, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Songwriting: 9/10
Musicality: 9/10
Memorability: 8/10
Production: 8/10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Where The Blackfish Dwell
2. A Love And Battle Song
3. Broken Eagle
4. Devil’s Dreams
5. Dreadfort
6. Darvulia
7. Queen of Hades
8. To The Walls
Lineup:
Isobelle – Vocals
Lorenzo Pagani – Guitar
Luca Mapelli – Guitar, Growls & Backing Vocals
Rob Banfi – Bass, Clean & Screaming Vocals
Valerio Villa – Drums
Record Label: Volcano/Dark Hammer Legion Records
     


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