Valdrin
Throne of the Lunar Soul

Another late 2023 release that I was late to the party was, is the fourth album from Ohio’s symphonic/melodic black metal act Valdrin.

It’s been a while since I heard from them, as it was 2014’s debut on Blast Head Records, Beyond the Forest where I was introduced to them, but have not heard anything from them since. They have released three albums since 2014, with Throne of the Lunar Soul being the most recent, and some of my symphonic black metal friends recommended I check the new album out.

So here we are, and the first thing that jumps out, as with the debut is the length; 74 minutes, (the two albums in between were far shorter apparently), and while I love this genre, 11 5-8 minute songs can be a bit exhausting. It’s a little like porn- yeah the 1 hour long romp looks and sounds like fun in theory, but in reality, sexy time is more realistic and enjoyable in much (much) shorter bursts.

Still, the band’s 90s styled, Old Mans Child, Dissection, Naglfar, and Dimmu Borgir influences are heavy handed as when I first heard them, but unfortunately, Throne of the Lunar Soul isn’t rousing me as much as some of their peers from 2022-2023 (Deathcode Society, Ensom, Moonlight Sorcery, Aphelium Aeternum, Obscuris Romancia).

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy Throne of the Lunar Soul as a couple of tracks like “Paladins of Ausadjur” with its Mediterranean jaunt or “Sojourner Wolf” with its nice acoustic moments. But otherwise, the songs, especially with their length, never quite hit home, despite their proficiency and confidence.

There’s just something missing on tracks like , “The Hierophant” “Vagrant in the Chamber of Night”, the 9-minute title track or “Two Carrion Talismans“. Despite the band’s admirably epic ambitions, things just come across as a bit bland. The keyboards in particular fall a bit flat, lacking either pure bombast or regal majesty (though the closing instrumental “Hymn to the Convergence” is nicely done), and there is just something a little off with the drums and some of the clean vocals/spoken words.

Still, while a bit of a step back for these vets, I expect them to continue to deliver their chosen sound, self-edit a little and hopefully get to the top of their game again for the next album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 16th, 2024

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