Beyond the Forest

Despite hailing from the darkest depths of Cincinnati, Ohio, you’d be forgiven for assuming Valdrin reside in Scandinavia due to their impressive take of that locale’s melodic black metal sound as encapsulated by the likes of Emperor, Dissection, Naglfar and Dimmu Borgir.

Fear not Dimmu Borgir haters, this isn’t overly pompous theatrical black metal, that is more of fleeting reference dues to some keyboards here and there.  But to be honest there’s actually more of an early Old Mans Child sound going on also, I mean I actually thought the riffs that surface in third track,  “Rusalka Succubus” was from Old Mans Child‘s 1996 debut, Born of the Flickering. The synths are never overbearing or cheesy, but used effectively to enhance the music.

And the music is rather good. Backed by a clear, but frosty production, the riffs flitter between typical blackened tremolo picked moments and more convoluted, serpentine but melodic moments that are far more complex. Look no further than the vast 10+ minute title track for a collection of everything, topped off by a killer melodic solo around six and a half minutes in (as well ac acoustic refrains, blast beats and all manner of well done melodic black metal tropes). Emperor arises as a heavy influence in  the seven minute “Through the Catacombs”  (with an opening riff that recalls “Inno A Satana”) in both the structure of the song and the swirly, majestic synths.

The band can bare thier teeth a little also with the likes of “Serpent Willow”, “Calling to the Cannidae Hordes”  and “Come Forth” showing they can have some much more aggressive, thrashy blasts within the generally more majestic throes. But for the most part the materiel is nice and layered with rich  melodies and either mid paced or a canter and gallop with a regal, glacial atmosphere . “Darkness as Black as Evil”, the epic majesty of “In the Vortex of Time/Relinquish Flesh” and closer “Forgotten Soul” all deliver top notch epic, melodic black metal.

The only down side of an other wise damn solid album and Blasts Heads commendable first foray into black metal, is the 12 song 66 minute run time, which is a bit overdrawn and draining, even with the high quality. But if have enjoyed recent releases from the likes of Frozen Dawn or Astrophobos, this will appease you and certainly delivers a style that seems to be pretty rare these days.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 9th, 2014


  1. Commented by: drowningincorn

    I’m digging the hell out of this record. It’s familiar but still new. Glad you covered this. Not many can do this style and make it sound fresh and vital.

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