Review Summary: Fantastical and epic melodic black metal.
Valdrins new album, Throne of the Lunar Soul
is among the most epic and fantastical sounding melodic black metal in recent years, through the obvious influence from classic bands within the genre and, most importantly, bringing in their own spin on this already well established sound.
To say this album achieves its grand and epic approach would simply be underselling it. The lead guitar melodies are the album's centerpiece, and they are what bring out the fantastical atmosphere of the world the band is building. From the soaring melodies of Sojourner Wolf
to the enchanting atmosphere created in Golden Walls of Ausadjur
, the guitar work is never lacking. Even at the quieter moments, such as the beautiful closing solo in Paladins of Ausadjur
, the guitar work stays in the spotlight. However, the accenting from the futuristic keyboards are what help the leads stand tall, making the melodies more all encompassing within the overall mix. These melodies are what invoke the atmosphere of the world within the album, and this is what makes this band stand out. This atmosphere is what makes their sound so fresh.
It would be wrong to say that Valdrin does not go all out heavy though, with the focus on riffs. While the opening synths of Seven Swords (In the Arsenal of Steel)
may suggest otherwise, the rest of the track is filled with punishing riffs and violent blast beats while still not losing focus on the album's tone.
However, Throne of the Lunar Soul
does start to lose some of its momentum in the second half, as it feels like the band is just retreading their same tricks. And as the album reaches 73 minutes in length, it is hard not to admit that the album is a tad bloated. Holy Matricide
and Two Carrion Talismans
are the biggest offenders of this, as it feels like they add very little to the album overall and therefore are ultimately forgettable.
This is not to say that the record is a barren wasteland of creativity in its second half, as it holds the album's greatest achievement, that being the title track, Throne of the Lunar Soul
. This track feels like the culmination of all the band's ideas, creating an emotional and climatic epic. From the album's flashiest solo to the heavy use of keyboards and synths, this track is simply huge. Where the song truly shines is during the instrumental break, with acoustic guitar and piano combining for melancholic melodies until the lead guitar slides its way in for a meticulously melodic solo that cements the album as a new great within the melodic black metal genre.
Overall, Throne of the Lunar Soul
biggest strength is undeniably the distinct atmosphere created by the guitars and synths, allowing for epic, memorable melodies that bring life to the album's world. However, the album is dragged down by its bloated runtime and the lack of variety, causing the second half to really slow down in a few places. While this may not reach the level of its influences, it is certainly close to getting there.