Review Summary: "Jesus loves me, this I know."
The existence of God and the afterlife is not an unfamiliar subject to explore, especially among artists. You may be given some questions to ask yourself every so often, but it is not very often a band grabs you by your shoulders and shakes you violently, begging for answers to their questions, or perhaps to wake you up out of some daydream.
Valleyheart has done both of these things in their debut full length "Everyone I've Ever Loved", which features very smooth guitar playing, soft and haunting vocals, with drums beating along to match the atmospheric and dejected tone as this band throws everything they have right at you.
They certainly aren't afraid to shout every single doubt to the listener's ear. While it may start off relatively somber, they start to face the truth of their own reality with "Friends in The Foyer", talking of how God was only something to numb their pain, with soaring riffs before eventually fading into the static, as if they are just as defeated as the lead vocalist.
We often find the vocalist questioning his past life style and the new life he's constructed for himself among the dream-like noises emanating from the guitars, with the drums beating with noticeable restraint, but it serves the record even more-so, as it only proves that the other members feel defeated.
In "Drowned in Living Waters" is when it truly explodes into desperation, with the singer begging to be taken somewhere that feels like home, begging for a place in the universe before the instrumentation comes to a brief stop, allowing everything to be soaked in before taking off once more, while somewhat strained vocals yell over the cacophony of noise before it grinds to a halt.
We are brought to the album's closer, "Paradisum", which is a very chilling piano ballad; the vocals were even record outside, in the freezing cold. You can hear the vocalist struggling to breathe properly as he sings a song which I assume is inspired by a hymn, and begs for God to help him accept that he may be real, or if he can truly be saved and find rest somewhere.
Genuinely a gem of a record, even more impressive it holds one overall cohesive theme without growing boring, always keeping at a steady pace without throwing any ideas away. What you hear is what you get. It chilled me to my core.
Heaven & Hell
Friends in The Foyer
Drowned in Living Waters