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Monday 10 February 2014

World Of Metal 5: Valtari, Unscarred, Running Death

Valtari: Hunters Pride (Self Release) (Review By Nick)

Coming from the land down under Valtari is a melodic Death Metal project with a twist… there is but one of them! Fronted and indeed solely brought together by Marty Warren, this brave man has undertaken a big project that could go one of two ways. Warren’s second full-length album under the name of Valtari opens with Bitterness, which is a solid punch in the face if ever such a statement was needed. Filled with the heavy hitting drums and melodic riffs that this genre mixes so well, new album Hunters Pride gets off to a flying start. Undefeatable and Can You Hear Me continue much in the same vein with background melodies thrown in from soft yet somehow aggressive sounding keyboards. Into Shatter The Myth and In Slides that flawlessly slither into each other with ease, they slow things down a little and its Warrens voice that stands out particularly in these two tracks. Raspingly high at times with short rumbling growls when called upon but at the same time both as pure as silk. Vocally it’s hard not to compare Warren to that of Immortals old school Abbath vocals at times. From With A Childs Smile through to Tyrant the album picks up pace again, the face smashing relentless thumping riffs continue, at the same time forcing your head to bounce in every direction possible. Soon the album must finish with The Gift and Hunters Pride, and wow… what a way to finish! Slowly building up steam The Gift is a final tribute to the vocals of this album, Warren’s voice being tested at both ends of the scale without failure, beautifully supported by the snapping rolling drums and the melodical riffage I have come to expect. The encore of Hunters Pride is the epitome of Warren’s work; filled with everything that is right about this album and this genre. Rammed with enough keyboards, pounding drums and grinding guitars to wave a stick at, that all inevitably finishes in great style, changing its pace to keep you hooked into one final triumphant solo. Thankfully my earlier worries we swiftly dismissed by a brilliant effort from Marty Warrens mind. Needless to say I like this album; I like this album a lot! Watch out Sweden, Melodic Death has a father now too, and its name is… Australia?? 9/10

Unscarred: Fake Democracy EP (Contorted Records & Finisterian Dead End) (Review By Nick)
Unscarred is a powerful pounding-groove machine, wild and slightly crazy Thrash band formed in Paris. My initial opinions as the first track 100 Lashes struck my ears were “Damn this girl can sing!” Lead vocalist known simply as “Nelly” springs straight into action with quick strike up the octaves Sean Peck (Death Dealer) like opening. Followed quickly by an onslaught of groove-laden thrash. The next two offerings Fake Democracy and Puppets Territory come from different ends of the spectrum; Fake Democracy continues the groove filled bouncy bass led trend from which it was born from thanks to Bassist “Brice”, who brings good depth and strength to the track while not detracting from the vital thrash element of Unscarred. Puppets Territory as mentioned before is a different brand of music all together and enters the EP into a darker part of thrash. This time Nelly bringing slow deep growls to the forefront of the track. Although musically still of the same quality unscarred have already delivered us, this did spoil the path the EP was taking a little for me and briefly took the smile from my face as the fun seem to dissipate. Soon though the pitch perfect chorus quickly brought my smile back as Nelly reaches of the high notes again. This track was a little confused I think, and so was the next track Reborn. Despite the return of the growling vocals the funky thrash returns in this track and that for me is what Unscarred are good at. The life is brought back into the album here with the bass bouncing and the constant running guitars supplied by Boris and Nico holding the song well while keeping you intrigued as to where the album is going. Finally Meet Your Fate is a departure back to where the album started; honest groove filled thrash, only this time with a little more pace. Nelly’s vocals return to what they do best and the band seem a lot more attuned to this style of music, we’re even offered a solo or two here. The song ends with a hammering statement on the drums from Franck and leaves me with a smile on my face. Not the heaviest of stuff you’ll ever hear from this genre and Unscarred seem to be a little confused in themselves at times. Just a little more direction needed. However what this EP and band represent so far is good music with lots of fun, and there is simply nothing wrong with that in my book. A great band to catch live I highly suspect and I really hope I do have the chance in the future. 7/10

Running Death: The Call Of Extinction (Self Released)

From the opening chords you can tell what is going to happen and when the heavy, speed riffage kicks in all double kicks and razor sharp guitars you can tell that Running Death are: one a thrash band and two a very good one, especially on the solo front as Unleashed features some great fret-wanking throughout. The Germans wear their influences on their sleeves with Kreator and Slayer being the main two especially with the vocals of Simon and Julian who move between shouts and growls throughout. This is a great E.P with 5 strong thrash tracks that move like a whirlwind with lots of speedy riffs, good old fashion stomping rhythms see Call Of Extinction the songs have progressive tendencies as they move between different tempos on Celebrate Your Aggression which has sounds remarkably similar to South Of Heaven stylistically. Yet another German thrash band showing the yanks what for!! 7/10

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