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Valley of Hades - Almighty Emperor Award winner

Valley of Hades
Almighty Emperor
by Justin Joseph at 29 June 2022, 9:51 PM

Have you ever placed your bare hand upon the earthen floor, to feel truly feel its essence, where the soil touches the flesh, the moisture upon fingers as you experience the sensation of the grass felt upon the skin, to revel in the moment where nature and flesh connect as one? Where music is usually concerned, I firmly believe the best pieces are those which flow like a tapped vein, opened, spilling forth life for the soul that wishes to drink forth from its well. In other words, you are no longer external to that of the art that is unfolding, rather you become moulded within its very shape and being…in my opinion, these are the most potent works, the ones where the musical architecture transfigures itself into feeling as though it is a living entity emitting a meandering energy that is inhaled and absorbed.

Almighty Emperor” by VALLEY OF HADES is an album that adorns the skin of Old School Black Metal, but the action of donning such garment is no mere novelty act for this release, rather it is the spirit that becomes infused within its flesh, the bones of its melodies and nuances which grants an ineffable shape to the sounds that are echoed. The linchpin of this album can be discovered in the sombre and subtle moments, even though the climactic points expelled by the frenetic tempo can be quite exhilarating in its delivery, the true magic can be witnessed in the ‘natural’ moments if you may.

“Almighty Emperor” can be likened to that of a portrait, where the artist uses a myriad of contrasting colours, bold yet striking, to accentuate the features of the face, but the smaller brush strokes, the gentle motions guided by winds of one’s emotions that bestows life onto the art, such is the same with the album, where the keys and finer melodies are incorporated. Songs such “A Pathetic Acceptance of Pain” and “Night of the Possessed” are just instances upon “Almighty Emperor” that shows the symbiosis between the production and the instrumental components, where the production elevates the energy that is dispelled from the percussions and strings in the orphic manner that they undertake. However, it is integration of the vocals into the musical architecture which graces the album with its unique charm, for the motion in which the voice is unfurled fills the gap between the melodies making it much more concentrated and intimate.

VALLEY OF HADES has not only managed to capture the spirit that lingers within raw old school Black Metal, but also achieve a means to reap from its energy an alchemic aura, the very gift of taking these primordial notes and like he who weaves the thread into a tapestry to behold its magnificent mosaic, the same can be said with the music here, as it transforms itself to feel earthlier and organic. It is because of these meritorious moments is why I would recommend this album to any Black Metal enthusiast who wishes to delve into the more primitive yet atmospheric state of the genre.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Banner of Hate and Revenge
2. A Pathetic Acceptance of Pain
3. Unholy Night of Suffering
4. Devastating Axe of Damnation
5. Night of the Possessed
Record Label: Independent


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