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Valkyrja - Thrones Ablaze

Thrones Ablaze
by Katharine Hassett at 08 January 2019, 4:38 PM

VALKYRJA is a fierce black metal band formed in Stockholm, Sweden circa 2004. Despite the name, the band has nothing to do with pagan or viking metal, but deals in death, nihilism and overall misanthropy. Wasting no time, the four piece released a ferocious five track EP titled “Funeral Voices” in March of 2005, which was re released on cassette as “Far Beyond” under Deathkrush Productions. After a few lineup changes, VALKYRJA presented their debut LP, “The Invocation of Demise” via Northern Silence Productions, recorded at Necromorbus Studios (a studio they would continue to work with on future albums). Following the success of their debut, the band made a multi album deal with Metal Blade Records and go on to release three LPs under them, received mostly with praise.

During this time, “Invocation of Demise” earned a re issue under their new label. Following “Contamination” (2010) the vicious Swede metallers embarked on their first European tour, spreading their blood and fire even further. Their third album “The Antagonis’s Fire” was released in November of 2013 with the collaboration of the underground German Label World Terror Committee. Over the past decade they have visited over 100 European cities and 22 different states in America. Five years since their last album, and several crucial changes to the lineup “Thrones Ablaze” would be unleashed on the world in November of 2018.

The fourth opus opens with a abyssal drone featuring distant-sounding war drums and guitars and layers of screams, an evil prelude to the violence to come. “Crowned Serpent” plows straight into an onslaught of tremolo picking, blast beats and raspy screeches that is familiar to the black metal. Overall, it a darkly depressing opening while not sacrificing the rageful energy the four piece is known for. "Onslaught of Light" is a seven minute slow burner that doesn't actually have much light at all, opening with a down tempo 4/4 chord progression, quickly reverting back to the standard song structure found throughout the bands repertoire.

"Halo of Light" brings on more dissonance and evil with a true headbanger of a song, again utilizing slower tempo, as does the following song "Transcendental Death." A slapping eight minutes of varying styles: more trem picking and blasts, some grooves and guitar solos – the band certainly strives for diversity in an often very monotonous genre and they pull it off well.

The album finishes on a powerful note with "Thrones Ablaze," choir style vocals leading into a dismal chord progression that soon bursts into more sonic violence. This is a truly solid album with a range of styles that this writer would compare the likes of black metal legends SATYRICON, and the quartet should have no problem remaining firmly rooted in the scene for years to come.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. In Ruins I Set My Throne
2. Crowned Serpent
3. Opposer of Light
4. Tombs into Flesh
5. Halo of Lies
6. Transcendental Death
7. Paradise Lost
8. Thrones Ablaze
Simon Wizén - Lead Guitars, Vocals
V. Purice - Bass, Backing Vocals
V. Parri - Drums
B. Thelberg - Rhythm Guitars
Record Label: World Terror Committee


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Edited 26 November 2022

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