Written by: Blackie Skulless
It took me only a couple seconds to realize that the band was not named after the programming tool of the same name, but in relation to Valhalla. Considering the ancient themes and warlike attitude of the music, this would become quite obvious. Condemnation is the forth record by the Italian death metal quartet, dropping loads of life and layers on what is a generally darker sound.
For a good majority of Condemnation, the songs avoid the typical layout, and instead build themselves on unconventional riff patterns and sprinkle in melodeath tactics. Those allow for extra bridges thrown into areas that don’t necessarily lead into a solo, but perhaps an entirely different sequence of sounds. Depending on the transitions, this can help or hurt. Some points feel natural, as if they go above and beyond the norm. “Divination - Marked By The Unknown” is one of the best tracks here, as it blends this with heavy synth presence, ultimately kicking out a longer track. The doomy outro of the title track was also a neat touch.
On the contrary, there are times where this feels forced due to lack of direction, leaving me wondering if there was a resolution in mind to begin with. “Entangled In A World Below” has a lot of jumping crawls that gave me that thought. Additionally, I can’t say Valgrind’s vocals are exactly my favorite. Rather than coming from your growls, howls, and barks that otherwise lead into something guttural, we get a throaty outcry that feels a bit lacking in push.
Regardless, the instrumentation is impressive, even if the pieces of that don’t always go together. Tremeloes, solid riffs, crawling leads, and explosive passages sneak their way in on and off throughout. For a release of its kind, it’s worth hearing, especially if you’re seeking something that isn’t so predictable. Those trying to get your OSDM fix, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
Valgrind - Condemnation will be released July 27th from Memento Mori. You've still got a while, so check out"Entangled in a World Below," erm, above!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!