Tuesday, June 30, 2015


by MMB
Valdur (U.S.): Pathetic Scum (Bloody Mountain Records)
Now this is more like it; this is a Valdur that I can get on board with! Valdur has unleashed a raw black metal beast of an album. The band's previous album "At War with" (2013) was a competent death metal album, but this new album, "Pathetic Scum," I loved the vibe and energy immediately and I felt it. Whereas the 2013 album sounds like a band doing solid work, now Valdur is on fire! Whereas before they sounded like a band doing a fine job, now they sound like they are playing out of their minds! This is something I want.
The difference is that now they sound like they are not holding back, holding out on us, and now are letting their animal instinct fury kick into infernal high gear. This is how you do it; you have to put it all out there, play like your life depends on it. There are several changes that have taken place that I like. First, the production: the drumming sounds like it cannot be contained, the cymbals are loud and obnoxious, and sound magnificent, and I love it. I do not like plastic/clicky drumming, and this is barbarous blasting, with less computer tinkering. Great change. The guitars now rage and sound primal, not just tight and professional; the riffs are more intense, headbanging and easier to connect with, because “I’m a metalhead, not a physicist, dammit!” Less virtuosity, more headbanging. Yet, Valdur will still have something more to give us in the future: the vocals are appropriately brutal, but for instance, on a song like "Morbid Emanations," the last one on the album, the growling sounds ferocious, yes, but could definitely be wilder and more savage, with more primitive screams, chaos and insanity. Unleash the Kraken!
The change in sound suggests that perhaps there is a conflict in the band about the direction of Valdur. I have not heard all the Valdur works, but I have read that the band has been ambivalent about its sound. This means that the band is creating audiences that will prefer one direction over another, death metal over black metal and vice versa. In some ways, this could be detrimental for the band, to have divided audiences, perhaps, or maybe not, who's to say?
I think that for Valdur one thing should not be in doubt, though: in the U.S., death metal is king in the extreme metal underground, and it is an overcrowded field, with lots of fast, loud, intense, slamming bands that, at the end of the day, lack the quality in the songs, and for that reason do not stand out. (Every week and weekend in the U.S. there are “brutal death metal” bands playing bars, chugging away about zombies and dismemberment, and it’s all very interesting if you are 14 years old, but not so much when you are older and listen to metal obsessively every day.)
Now, Valdur has made an album that truly sets them apart, especially given that there are not that many bands today that play black metal this well and this primal. Plus, there are many people in the U.S. trying to mix black metal with hardcore (yuck!) or emo or postrock or punk or ...or … excuse while I vomit.
Ok, I feel better now.
Anyway, like I was saying, it's like nobody, or almost nobody, wants to play real black metal. Valdur should not look back and should continue down this "Pathetic Scum" road because this is what they do best. Do what you do best. This is it!
I, for one, can’t enough of this new Valdur.
listen to the new Valdur here:

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