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Valdrin - Two Carrion Talismans Award winner

Two Carrion Talismans
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 06 August 2018, 7:26 AM

Evolving from their original moniker DAWN OF WOLVES, Cincinnati Ohio’s VALDRIN comes today with their sophomore effort, Two Carrion Talismans. From their Facebook page, their bio provides some thematic insights which really helped me understand the music. “The Edictim Divina” states that “The strongest power of the known cosmic universe dwells within the minds of every mortal that exists now, has before and will in the future. Such a proclamation seems all too easy to rebuke without the understanding of one’s own conscious potential. A power that -aside from the physical benefits of evolution - has given the human race a truly ambiguous society of technological innovation and sadistically calculated evils.”

This has been the rise and will be the eventual downfall of humanity of course, as we know it. Though in essence it is only our creative-selves that have brought us to our inevitable demise. A power formed and evolved in an unknown time during our genetic life span. A power that has created what we know as good and evil, a power that feeds what is to be good and evil (on earth) and in turn is fed right back to its source (the mind). This power is the Spirit Genome. The ever-changing genetic strand in our divine journey. This power has facilitated man’s ability to ponder, decide, create and inscribe.

Man has, in a sense, begat an invisible organ in the inventive conscious, only to be collectively represented in the forms of art and technology. This continuum force (granted by the spirit genome) has forged this path to our newly created human environment, devoid of animalistic survival anxieties.  And perhaps the strongest testament to our potential (or at least our evil) is our ability to imagine ourselves un-existing. Then to commit the act of self-termination! Thus succumbing to the pinnacle tilt of imbalance towards pure dark energy.

When attempting to understand the totality of this energy cycle, terms such as god and devil, heaven and hell, become mere one-sided explanations, for the world we have created within (or perhaps without) is collective of all our banes and devoid of all societal barriers. What if this world (or worlds) is real? A veritable, collective dimension, somewhere, that has been the destination of every mortal soul that has ever lived. Whichever force (light or dark) was stronger in the Spirit Genome would certainly persist with the soul’s journey after death? For some the answer may be swiftly solved in one suicidal thought…”

“Juuatox” is the first track. The production is muted to give it that raw and harrowing sound. The raspy vocals echo in an underground chamber of torture. I would describe it as Black Metal, but as well there is a subtle use of melody and even some Symphonic elements that keep it pretty unique. “Nex – The Barren Sculptor” hears this sound continue in a similarly paced song. Some of the chord progressions are surprisingly quite unexpected they perform them with confidence and a tight bottom line. Simulated organ notes seem to come from a cloaked specter who murdered the resident organ player and took over the church with nefarious intentions. “Sinew of Blood and Vein” has a spooky and suspenseful opening. Something wicket this way comes, as the saying goes. From there a big wall of sound slams in, and then it settles into a groove. While the drums pile-drive ahead, the guitars and synth guitars create quite the frightening sound.

In Roman mythology, Orcus was the God of the Underworld, and punisher of broken oaths. In the song “Funeral Tides of Orcus,” the aggressive and dark tone is coupled with alarming effects to produce the idea that a meeting with Orcus is imminent, and you wallow at how you will spend your final moments of life. “Tempest Torn Asunder” opens with angry guitar riffs and a sound of retribution. All manner of filth and pestilence is gathering in the plains of hell, ready to make the final war on earth as mankind has ultimately failed as a species. It segues into “Vesper in the Animus Lair,” which features some nifty time shifting to go along with some progressive leanings at times. One thing is clear here—this isn’t your father’s Black Metal. The harrowing sound is of course at the forefront, but they are not afraid to stretch out. Some of the stretching reminds me of another unique band at times, BAL-SAGOTH.

Crimson Blades In The Ausadjur Wake is the Behemoth on the album, at close to eight minutes. Again we hear some well-crafted melodies bubbling just beneath the surface so as not to take over, but rather remind us that Black Metal can be very diverse, and the bands who take advantage of this are the ones who are more exciting in the genre today. There are some outright delicate moments here which really cut well against the darkness. A glittering guitar solo rounds out this really great and unique song. “Awaiting in the Spirit Genome…” is a short entirely synth track, and has an ominous sound of an approaching apocalypse. It reminds me of some of the music from the original “Terminator” movie. Overall, I was very impressed with the album. The band’s musicianship and songwriting craft is strong; something you don’t often hear in the genre. But, it’s their adventurousness and refusal to play within the boundaries that really sets them apart. There are so many nuances here that it will keep you enjoying it for a long time.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Junnatox
2. Nex – The Barren Sculptor
3. Sinews of Blood and Vein
4. Funeral Tides of Orcus
5. Tempest Torn Asunder
6. Vesper in the Animus Lair
7. Crimson Blades In The Ausadjur Wake
8. Awaiting in the Spirit Genome…
Carter Hicks – Guitar/Synth Guitar/Vocals
James Lewis – Bass
Colton Deem – Lead Guitar
Ryan Maurmeier – Drums
Record Label: Blood Harvest


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Edited 02 December 2022

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