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Valhalla - The Aftermath (CD)

Valhalla
The Aftermath
by Grigoris Chronis at 23 January 2006, 5:49 AM

Valhalla…Is this the n-th Metal band under this moniker? Not that this is of any significant importance. I know nothing 'bout this act before; still, I grabbed the CD out of the promo 'pile' since it was quite impossible to be left with a negative feeling after the listening 'session'. As if a Grindcore follower could leave out a band called Molested Cunt or Regurgitated Flesh…
This band hails from Spain. They've been around for more than eight years, initially as a powerful trio with Jevo handling both the guitars and the mic duties. Tough times…The Guardians Of Metal (1998) Demo was their first attempt to gain some reputation, added by live appearances next to bands like e.g. Metal Church. Lineup changes and some album releases - Beyond The Underworld (2000), Once Upon A Time (2001, artwork done by none other than Derek Riggs), Nightbreed (2003) - did not 'push' the band to a higher level of recognition; call me 'promotion/distribution', I should add. Well, that's why - maybe - the band decided to form their own label, Agnat Records, so as to control their own actions the best way possible. Leaving away the whole past, The Aftermath is the 'child' of Valhalla's new era, and I bet we should show some interest this time!
Recorded at Grabasonic Studios, Berango (Bizkaia) during winter 2004/2005 and produced by the band itself, The Aftermath (unaware of the band's previous releases) sounds really good! To label the album as 'Power Metal music' will certainly deteriorate its quality. For a 'retro' jackass like me, the term 'Power Metal' applies for releases like Savatage's Hall Of The Mountain King (1987), Helloween's Walls Of Jericho (1985) or Cloven Hoof's A Sultan's Ransom (1989) while others may defend albums like Manowar's Triumph Of Steel (1992), Gamma Ray's Land Of The Free (1995) or Hammerfall's Hammerfall (1997). Well, Valhalla's The Aftermath lies somewhere in between…
Of course, you can't hide your Iron Maiden ('82-'85 era) influence when you're into this kind of sub-genre. Dual harmony solos, melodic bridges and plain chord base. Yet, Valhalla extend/broaden their horizons and perform an interesting amalgam of both 80's and 90's Heavy Metal music, from both sides of the ocean. Some tunes refer to speed, others deal with an 'epic' feeling, while others flirt with the directivity of ample power. Not to 'shorten' the band's personal sound, I 'smelled' 80's U.S. Metal bands (Crimson Glory, some Riot, 80's Jag Panzer), mid-tempo Iced Earth/Blind Guardian, 80's Helloween, Virgin Steele…what else?…Shit…Interesting guitar work, choir refrains, 'tasty' solos, adequate vocal lines. You know, being a Mediterranean Metal band (I have jumped to this conclusion several times) can give you the plus of originality in terms of production, solos and vocal melodies, since this 'package' is quite different down there.
The Aftermath delivers powerful Metal music, with sufficient melody and a good production. I'd bet this album could do well under the Massacre or Nuclear Blast 'umbrella'. I enjoyed this one because it simple 'trapped' my mind in the dead-end of trying to come up with bands as direct references. No, The Aftermath shows mainly influences and nearly no 'copy-paste' attitude. This I admire the most.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Inseminator
Enemy
Lost In Space
Heroes
Farewell
Miracle
Memories
XXX
Time
Lineup:
Javi Patxa Navarro - Vocals, Backing Vocals & Choirs
Jevo - Guitar, Bass & Choirs
Mikel Martinez - Guitar & Choirs
Ivan Corcuera - Drums
Kepa Jordan - Bass
(Bass on this album played by Chefy)
Record Label: Agnat Records
     


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