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Valravn – Prey

by Hari Narayanan at 05 December 2020, 2:32 AM

VALRAVN's first studio album “Prey” offers pummeling black metal of the Finnish variety. The album begins with a soft and mellow acoustic section.  The song “Throne of Blood” is the first song that displays the mammoth potential that the band offers on this album. The song starts with a tremolo riff that lets the listener know they are in for something heavy here. The motif introduced is embellished upon and carried on with purpose, tension is built with slower and heavier sections, and finally the tension built is released at the end in a deeply satisfying manner.

“Void” takes the album further, with a galloping drum pattern and a pleasing melody. But it is in no way a melodic black metal song, it is punishing and heavy. The song is built to a bass drum section where all the pieces are in the air and then the voice of Nachtgeist brings back everything back to its original place and concludes the song magnificently.

The next song “Conjuration” is put together brilliantly as well. It is a slower song that carries the heaviness, which we have experienced in the earlier songs, forward. The quality of songwriting on this record, which is evident from the moment it starts, just keep getting better as each song progresses. Nachtgeist is a brilliant musician who knows what he is doing and is capable and unafraid, when needed, to take the twists and turns in his method as he sees fit. The display of his songwriting ability just goes on as the album unfurls.

“Evoke the Fire”, the midpoint is a significant song because of two reasons. Firstly it serves the purpose as the direction board as to where the album is going to go from here. It performs this function rather well. The next reason is the fact that it is the best song on the album.  The drums follows the galloping rhythm followed earlier on songs like “Void”, and the guitar too follows similar patterns. But the melody that is built is sublime and ethereal. Other songs like “Enchained”, “Treachery”, and “The Raven” adds to the overall quality and direction of the album.

This album is a brilliant work in the Finnish vein of Black Metal enriched by bands such as SARGEIST, BEHEXEN, SARKRISTA and SATANIC WARMASTER. This album will shake you, evoke sentiments and sometimes move you to tears. It portrays a cold and brutal terrain, which is punishing and extremely beautiful at the same time. There is brilliant songwriting on display here, but the production does not always cater to that well executed song structures. The sequencing of the songs is done with extreme care too. Nachtgeist deserves much respect for his performance. “Prey” is the first step toward the growth of this band to its very high potential.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Awaken
2. Throne Of Blood
3. Void
4. Conjuration
5. Evoke the Fire
6. Illustatum
7. Enchained
8. Treachery
9. The raven
10. Outro
H. Partinen - Bass
A. Olkkola - Drums
B. Carey - Guitars
Alarik - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Primitive Reaction


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Edited 29 January 2023

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