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Valgrind - Millennium of Night Bliss Award winner

Millennium of Night Bliss
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 27 March 2023, 1:44 AM

The old saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” needs to be amended to include VALGRIND.  The death metal stalwarts hit the scene way back in 1996 and released several demos and an EP before releasing their full length debut album, “Morning Will Come No More,” in 2012.  Flash forward to 2023 and the band is set to release, ‘Millennium of Night Bliss,’ their fifth full length album. The band’s overall sound is straight up death metal with an old school flavor.  What separates VALGRIND and this album apart from the countless other bands of this genre is their infectious energy and clear love for their chosen style.  That desire to go in for the kill, the insatiable hunger to annihilate, and the seemingly endless extremeness that marked death metal’s so called hey day in the late 80’s/early 90’s is  exemplified and amplified on this album. But these songs also take it up a notch by including moments of dynamics and melody that normally wouldn’t fit into such caustic primal death—this band knows how to write and play their craft so well that deviations from it feel as natural as breathing.

The album displays this quality from the very opening moments of the first track, ‘Teshub’ and its creepy, ambient noise that lead into brutality in full force.  The riffs here, and the album in general, capture that sweet spot of how death metal should sound.  Their tone, including the bass which absolutely goes a very long way towards the band sound, helps lend the song just atmosphere in places, specifically the mid portion and the end when it is at slower tempos.  With that being said, there is always time to shred as they show with the face melting guitar solos. Daniele's vocals eschews deep growls and high screams for a more depraved approach, a truly vicious attack that is caught somewhere in between those aforementioned styles.

More killer lead work begins the second track, “Banished By Celestial Harmonies.”  The rhythmic foundation is built to be impenetrable  and carries a groove that will bang the head that doesn’t bang, especially just before the guitar solo around the 2:13 mark.  The album’s penchant for providing dynamics in a natural way shine brightly on the song’s ending guitar melodies. ‘Tenebra Conrona Mundi,’ is an interlude that serves as a break between the songs, made of virtuosic guitar and clean keys. It is a nice respite and more interesting than most interludes I suffer through these days but it would have been nice if it melded into the next track or maybe even flesh out more for a longer, more detailed experience.

‘Dark Winds Of Avalon,’ comes afterwards and it is a banger with melody sprinkled throughout it—not overly done but just enough to side the dynamics of the song.  The bass stands out particularly well, especially during the song’s mid section of melodic flourishes.  The last couple minutes barrels through without a care in the world other than putting my ears through the ringer. ‘Lament of the Black Penetants (Glory is the Sun of the Dead),’ is one of my favorite songs on the album.  The riffs are just a whirlwind, a cacophony of composed chaos , not resting for a second.  The drums compliment these arrangements with nearly unreal speed and precision—despite the maddening energy upon display, the whole song is tight as hell and every second feels like it will explode.

‘Oracle Of Death,’ is another favorite of mine.  I love the delicate balance between the melodic and the heavy.  The vocals reek of desperation and make the music seem all that more urgent.  This song has everything needed in death metal: an unwavering rhythmic section that would stem the winds of a hurricane, razor sharp riffs, insane vocals and the overall feel of everything coming undone under the unrelenting force of pressure.  My favorite movement is from about the halfway mark.  There is this rapid fire melodic section that leads into a blistering solos that is then raised up by an undercurrent of bass/guitar that belt out riffs that hit hard like waves against the rocks of a shore. ‘Fear From Beyond,’ is another interlude and, honestly, quite clever.  Much like the previous instrumental, I wish this was part of the death metal more but at the same time it allows the band to stretch their sound without moving too far away from it.

‘The Path to the Temple of Black Ash,’ is the final track and ends the album on a high note, but at this point in the album, nothing less could be expected.  The riffs are more intricate here and the vocals sound like someone vomiting (compliment) so the band really ups their game for the final send off.  Some of the riffs are thick and sweltering with a slightly doom feel and that is never a bad thing.  The bass seems absolutely bottomless. VALGRIND deliver another example of death metal mastery in ‘Millennium of Night Bliss,’ and show everyone else the way of writing and playing death metal that offers many engaging moments among the more eviscerating ones.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Teshub
2. Banished by Celestial Harmonies
3. Millennium of Night Bliss
4. Tenebra Corona Mundi
5. Dark Winds of Avalon
6. Lament of the Black Penetants (Glory is the Sun of the Dead)
7. Oracle of Death
8. Fear from Beyond
9. The Path to the Temple of Black Ash
Massimiliano Elia - Keyboards, Guitars
Daniele Lupidi- Vocals, Bass
Gianmarco Agosti - Drums
Umberto Poncina - Guitars
Record Label: Memento Mori


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Edited 30 May 2023

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