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Valaraukar - Demonian Abyssal Visions

Valaraukar
Demonian Abyssal Visions
by Louise Brown at 25 June 2019, 7:36 PM

Black Metal band VALARAUKAR took their name from one of J.R.R. Tolkien's books; the name itself is another way to refer to the infamous fire demons known as "Balrogs". The Scottish duo (located in the legendary city of Edinburgh) certainly manages to embrace the themes of bleakness and doom which are prevalent in so many of Tolkien's stories.

The opening track "Harnessing Of Hostile Forces," begins in low-key manner then gradually becomes louder as the song speeds up. The vocals stand out immediately because of the manner in which they are performed. Rather than sounding like traditional Black Metal the style is closer to a Punk Rock rant that has been slowed down a bit. The result is a narrative which is closer to speaking rather than pure singing, technically making it something like a chant. It works very well with the backing music in this case. The track also has several great guitar riffs throughout, adding a lot of energy to the composition. For a seven minute song it is over with surprisingly quick.

"The Unassailable Throne" begins a little quicker than the first track. However, the pace of the song really is not my concern once I hear the singer begin his part. Vagath has an interesting voice, but his style is limited for some strange reason. Rather than varying his approach at all he sticks to the exact same delivery that he used on the intro song. Fortunately the music within the track helps the listener to overlook the problem. It has plenty of power and darkness as well as a nice guitar solo about halfway through it. As "Red Eyes Behold The Heart Of Ruin" begins I admit I feel a certain amount of trepidation. The beginning of it is solid and well-played with plenty of conviction as well as skill. Promising so far, great! Unfortunately, the instant the vocals take over disappointment sets in. Yes, same delivery, same volume, same tone, etc. That is when I start to feel frustrated more than anything. Again, the music on the track is excellent. It provides the right atmosphere for the song and does not repeat itself. You can clearly hear a difference between it and the two previous songs. With regard to the vocals, it's a different story. I understand that some singers have a style which they prefer to sing in; I have always been a singer myself so I completely "get" the tendency to embrace what works for you. Normally, it's a good idea. But when it comes to recorded material it's not always your best bet. It gives the impression that the singer is either afraid to try something new, or it makes the singer seem like he (or she) doesn't care enough about what they're doing to shake things up a little bit. I'm not saying a drastic change is needed because that would also ruin a good song.  A few variations in tone and inflection would work wonders and make the songs that much better.

The final three songs on the album suffered from the same issues. Great to excellent music on all three of them; not such great vocals in all three cases. I feel bad for having to point out the problem repeatedly, but this is a review so I have to be honest about what I have heard. I still think VALARAUKAR is a good band with a great deal of potential. A couple of fairly small changes with regard to the singing would allow them to create songs which are truly epic rather than mildly entertaining. Hopefully they will push themselves just a tiny bit more next time so that their music makes a greater impression. I won't say don't buy the album, but I won't say that I recommend it, either.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 5



2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Harnessing Of Hostile Forces
  2. The Unassailable Throne
  3. Red Eyes Behold The Heart Of Ruin
  4. Visions Of Truth Amidst Black Fume
  5. Servants Of The Nameless
  6. Conquering The Void
Lineup:
Vagath -  Vocals, guitars
Sovereign -  Drums
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
     


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