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Vallendusk - Heralds Of Strife

Heralds Of Strife
by Erika Kuenstler at 14 June 2021, 5:19 PM

Hailing from sunny Indonesia, Melodic/Epic Black Metal band VALLENDUSK are back with their fourth full-length album, entitle “Heralds Of Strife”. In their previous releases, the band managed to create a name for themselves by standing out musically. This is all the more evident on the current album, which is a complete mixed bag, combining a flurry of different styles and sounds into a chaotic amalgamation. This the band manages to pull off convincingly in some parts, but less well in others.

Starting off with “The Last Soar As The Feathers Fall”, a maelstrom of melody swirls around you, packing everything from grandiose galloping classic Black Metal passages all the way through to more Viking sections that would not be amiss on older Folk Metal albums. Uplifting melodies back frosty vocals in an eddying and churning whirlwind of ever-changing melodies.  This sets the tone for the following songs, keeping up a relentless pace. There are some less frenetic moments built in, like the acoustic sections towards the end of “Towards the Shimmering Dawn”, giving you a moment’s respite before launching you once more into the tumultuous onslaught. After the first two songs, the gravely rasped vocal style seems a bit stale, especially with all the eclecticism of the instruments and styles. Cleaner vocals on “Ethereal Echoes Of Devotion” mix things up a bit, adding more of an Epic Metal flare to the bright atmosphere and rapid pace. At the apex of the album, we have “Solivagant Heart”, the shortest song on the album, clocking in at a mere 7.5 minutes in length. Together with “Marching Ballad Of The Unsung Ones”, these songs form perhaps the best moments on “Heralds Of Strife”, and give us a glimpse into what VALLENDUSK are truly capable of. Closing off the album, “The Sovereign” spans majestically over 11 minutes of music, slower and more atmospheric than the songs which came before it.

According to VALLENDUSK, the band tries to actively evolve with each album, and this is something that is clearly evident on “Heralds Of Strife”. The album is kept fresh and interesting throughout by the incorporation of a myriad of styles, giving the band their very own unique niche. However, whilst this works wonderfully in much of the album, there are a few spots where this tactic fails. In these moments, it the switch-up in genres feels a bit forced, as if they just randomly threw in a whole bunch of styles into the mix to see what stuck. Added to this is a mixing which is perhaps not as good as it might have been, with the bass being slightly too predominant in certain sections.

Overall, VALLENDUSK has a lot of potential, and “Heralds Of Strife” has some really beautiful moments. The band already has their own sound, but several sections - especially in the first half of this album - come off as trying slightly too hard to sound unique and different. But nevertheless, the band shows talent, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

Song-writing: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6


3 Star Rating

1. The Last Soar As The Feathers Fall
2. Towards The Shimmering Dawn
3. Ethereal Echoes Of Devotion
4. Solivagant Heart
5. Marching Ballad Of The Unsung Ones
6. Immemorials In Eternal Slumber
7. The Sovereign
Rizky – Vocals, Lyrics
Valendino Mithos – Lead Guitar, Songwriter, Composer
Danang Sugianto – Rhythm Guitar, Songwriter, Composer
Derick Prawira – Drums, Arrangement
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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Edited 01 February 2023

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