Titled: Demonian Abyssal Visions
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Release 21 June 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
VALARAUKAR are a band formed from the ashes of NNGN, comprised of Vagath and Sovereign (real names: Tam Robbie and Graham Rockwell) that laid down the foundations for this black metal project that we see today. Interestingly, Vagath also played guitars for the sadly defunct death metal band Nerrus Kor which existed from 2008 to 2013; his previous experiences helped to form the accomplished riffing and style that made itself known on VALARAUKAR‘s “Harnessing of Hostile Forces” EP and NNGN’s works, notably the “Forceful Blasphemy” EP which the band shares a lot of aural DNA.
A common complaint with black metal bands as a collective whole for some listeners is down to the vocal styles, which can range from guttural growls, through to shrieks, and quite often a mixture of both throughout their songs. Now, VALARAUKAR are particularly interesting in this respect because Vagath uses a clean (or, as clean as you can get from extreme metal bands) barked and commanding style of vocals sharing similarities with Tom G. Warrior. However, the overall guitar tone is a different kettle of fish compared to TRIPTYKON, choosing a typical northern European black metal sound that reminds you of a whole bunch of stuff all at once – but nothing entirely specific. Nevertheless, the album is generally enjoyable and not something that will have you diving for the stop and eject button by any means.
To add variety, VALARAUKAR add slow brooding parts to songs that help draw you in and gain interest as demonstrated when you first hear ‘The Unassailable Throne’, that for some reason starts with slow and mysterious riffs that remind the listener of ACKERCOCKE – before the whole thing kicks up a notch with a wall of guitars and blast beats. The production values of the album are pretty reasonable, inhabiting the sweet zone of being rough and ready and polished, which helps the album to breathe sonically so they are able to express themselves and convey the correct atmosphere to draw the listener in. At times, tracks such as “Red Eyes Behold The Heart of Ruin” conjure up images of wondering how life would’ve panned out if CELTIC FROST had continued on until the present day without making the atrocious “Cold Lake” album, and steered towards a black metal inspired style. For argument’s sake, imagine the “Monotheist” album was stuffed into some Heath Robinson-esque coffee percolator style of device that turned your albums into black metal records – and you’d get the general idea of what VALARAUKAR are trying to achieve.
The only concern with “Demonian Abyssal Visions” is down to the overall longevity of the album, and if you’ll be finding yourself making repeated listens in the future. Upon the first spin it’s immediately attractive, on the right day and the right mood is just what the doctor ordered; something to stick on your device of choice after commuting to/from work to drown out other passengers, or on your car stereo so you can briskly zip through some back roads on the way back home. The more seasoned and cynical listeners will find after a few spins the album will become “attractive background noise”, to play at full volume whilst bimbling around the house doing chores – to drown out the tinnitus caused by two decades of concert abuse because you were “too kvlt” to wear earplugs. It’s a great album and these guys are decent at what they do, but whether it makes people’s end of year album lists remains to be seen. 7.5/10 Goth Mark
7.5/10 Victory is Possible!
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