Bleak Recordings, 26.04.17
From Portugal's capital Lisbon, comes the band Wells Valley. The trio debuted with the album Matter As Regent a couple of years ago, but nobody has yet taken the trouble of adding them into the protocols of Encyclopaedia Metallum.
The website may have a strict criteria, but I see no reason why the Portuguese should not qualify for a place among other practitioners of avant-garde post-black dissonant sludge or what the hell to call it. Even if not all of their sources of inspiration sorts under metal.
The band delivers three songs, one of which is a Pink Floyd cover that differs significantly from the original version. Wells Valley does their own version of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. But before that, they present the two songs Annunciation and Ophanim. Everything served within 24 minutes.
The music sounds like a bastard of Triptykon and Blut aus Nord with elements and undertones from grunge, hardcore, groove and djent. It's more claustrophobic than intense, but an uncomfortable thick smog builds anyway. Everything from Gojira and Meshuggah to Neurosis and Nine Inch Nails, as well as many other bands, are named as references. This includes sources of inspiration such as Soundgarden, Tool, Alice In Chains, The Dillinger Escape Plan, King Crimson, Melvins, Voivod, Ved Buens Ende and Cult of Luna. Among other names. Not that I hear all of these influences.
The music is successfully atmospheric, lead-heavy, atonal and resonant, yet also disrespectfully “modern” in a sense.
You might as well check this one out for yourself without me having to say a whole lot more.
You'll quickly discover if this is for you or not.
Full stream is available under the Ophanim video.
Fighter Records, 04.05.17 Vhäldemar is a power metal quintet from Spain that's been going since 1999. The band got four albums behind them and offers a touch of heavy metal.
Earlier this month, they released the EP Old King's Visions, where four songs and an interlude are allowed to romp for 17 minutes.
In April, Fighter Records released a compilation of remastered versions of the two first albums, Fight to the End (2002) and I Made My Own Hell (2003), including five bonus tracks, and in October, the same label will be releasing the band's fifth album, Against All Kings.
On the band's first four albums you'll find the songs Old King's Vision Part I-IV. The EP with the same name starts with Part 5, titled 1366 (Old King's Vision Part V). This gives some associations to Accept / U.D.O. in the vocal. The music is in the cross between heavy and power, as the music is gentle, yet quite fast and tough. As such, it's easy to compare to Helloween, in addition to having a slightly pompous touch of Manowar. The guitar solo is good and I can actually live with the Spaniards mixing in some synthesizer as it's done in a vital Ayreon manner.
I Will Stand Forever calms the pace a bit without becoming ballad. The song is more soft with less adrenaline, and thus less interesting. Then follows a nice little piano interlude called Intro because it acts as an intro to the song Howling at the Moon. The song ain't bad, but a bit too power-metallic, even though it rocks okay. It smells a bit of Master of the Rings-era Helloween, and the final song, Gorgar, is even a cover picked from Walls of Jericho. The song with the mellifluous name is basically not one of Helloweens most memorable songs, and might mostly be remembered for its short visit to the Hall of the Mountain King.
Fans of power should check this out, for it's tougher than much in the cheese-genre above all other.
The discography can be checked out on Bandcamp.
Here you can hear 1366 (Old King's Visions part V) and Howling at the Moon with Intro: