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Vhaldemar - Straight to Hell Award winner

Straight to Hell
by Kevin Lewis at 01 December 2020, 11:16 AM

VHALDEMAR is a Spanish Power Metal band formed in 1999. "Straight To Hell" is their sixth full-length album. Released on October 6, 2020 through Fighter Records, this is a good example of just how alive and well Power Metal still is, and not just in Germany. This is heavy and fast and raw and epic, just like good Power Metal should be.

Right off the bat, “Death To The Wizard” and “My Spirit” set the tone with fast, heavy riffs and a pounding rhythm that mix well with the gritty vocals. The rhythm, section lays out a solid foundation for the guitar and keyboards to play over and through. This is not a rhythm section that will just lurk under and sound muted in comparison. They sit right up front and demand their own attention.

“Afterlife” is a race from start to finish. There is a slight slowing of pace for a bridge in the second half of the song, but it is not a respite. You don’t get to rest; you barely catch your breath. This is a song the most avid air drummer and air guitarist will find hard to keep up with, but at the same time will motivate them to work on their endurance just so they can.

“Straight To Hell” has a bit more of a melodic tempo in some areas. Reminiscent of some of the Power Metal greats (HELLOWEEN, MANOWAR, ACCEPT), they have the ability to drop it down a notch while still putting on a show. “Fear” is the song that is a real slow burn to start. This is the song where the guitar halts for a bit and the keyboard goes under the main section to influence the tone, allowing the first verse to showcase some of the rhythm section better. Then they all kick in and kick ass.

“When It’s All Over” is that epic song with the coarse vocals and the doom-laden tones. About that fight at the end, this is the song that shows their chops in what amounts to a power ballad for a Power Metal band.

This is a band that can maintain a furious pace and with skill. Power Metal is a lifestyle and is driven by epic tales and lofty stories. This does not disappoint. The musicianship is very good and the tempos run wild, just as they should. VHALDEMAR is not satisfied to cruise along at a decent clip, showing off their ability to keep a steady pace. They sprint out of the gate and aim to finish the race before most bands are even ready for the gun to go off.

Tight musicianship, good production and interesting lyrics make this a record worth listening to, more than once. As a fan of power metal, this is a band that will hit my playlist along with some of the bands listed above, many of whom I have followed for years. VHALDEMAR deserves a place with some of the best in the field. Hopefully, they can hit the stages with some of their peers in the near future. They will likely put on a great show.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Death to the Wizard
2. My Spirit
3. Afterlife
4. Straight to Hell
5. Damnation's Here
6. Fear
7. Hell Is on Fire
8. Black Mamba
9. When It's All Over
10. Old King's Visions (Part VI)
Carlos Escudero – Vocals
Raúl Serrano – Bass
Jandro – Drums
Pedro J. Monge – Guitar
Jonkol Tera – Keyboards
Record Label: Fighter Records


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Edited 05 December 2022

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