Valient Thorr
Stranger

The only thing I’d ever heard about Valient Thorr was, “They’re great live, dude!”  Yeah, well, maybe the same could be said about Mushroomhead, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna like ’em.  But after spinning Stranger a few times, the initial skepticism was sent flying out the window.  The furry outer-spacers comprising Valient Thorr rock ‘n’ rage in a truly raucous, coked-up fashion that would probably best be enjoyed in a live venue with beer in hand.

Stranger is, for lack of a better word, a fun concoction of rock-, metal-, and punk-infused tunes played at high voltage.  At times barreling through trad metal terrain, then rolling on down into southern or classic rock groove, only to have some punk sensibility kicked in, somehow the tracks of Stranger remain cohesive.  Valient Thorr even experiment with some varied time signatures and earthy, primal vibes in tracks like “Woman in the Woods” and “The Recognition.”  But it’s on the fast-paced, guitar-driven songs such as “Sleeper Awakes,” “Night Terrors” and “Habituary” that the band truly shines, displaying their knack for writing catchy, ass-kicking riffs, even doing a remarkably true homage to classic rock about two-thirds of the way into “Night Terrors.”

Sweat-streaked guitars, manic energy, and lots of alcohol — that’s my vision of the Valient Thorr live experience, and it comes through in Stranger.  And for a band like this, that’s what it’s all about — translating the live show to the record, not the other way around.  Motorhead might be a point of reference here, though more in spirit than in sound.  So, if you haven’t heard Valient Thorr, or even if you have, and amped-up hard rock or stripped-down heavy metal is in regular rotation on your player, it’d be a good suggestion to pick Stranger up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jodi Van Walleghem
November 9th, 2010

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