DANIELE LUPIDI – Vocals/bass
MASSIMILIANO ELIA – Guitars/keyboards
GIANMARCO AGOSTI – Drums
2. The Curse of Pegasus Spawn
3. Entangled in a World Below
5. Eater of Hearts
6. The Day
8. Storm Birds Descent
9. Divination -Marked by the Unknow
10. Goddess of the Salt Sea
Valgrind are an Italian blackened death metal band on the Memento Mori record label. They were born from the ashes of Necrospell in 1993 and over their early years, the group released four demos and developed its own style, merging influences from bands such as Morbid Angel with the bleak atmospheres of bands such as Candlemass. They disbanded in 2003 but returned with passion in 2008, releasing their debut full length album ‘Morning Will Come No More’, in 2012. They will be releasing their fourth album ‘Condemnation’ on 27th July, 2020.
If you’re of an impatient disposition, don’t worry because Valgrind throw everything at you! The dark classical-styled intro is short but sweet and whilst not super complex when compared to Septic Flesh, it IS well written and above all fun. Then comes in the first song ‘The Curse of Pegasus Spawn’, which really is as crisp as hell, like all the following tracks are. Really raging too of course and filled with excellent riffing. Then comes the first guitar solo… It’s performed almost in a tasteful bluesy style with quite a bit of expression! That will not be what anyone would expect, that’s for sure. Then comes the more typical shred solo, upping the excitement further. Great stuff.
‘Entangled in a World Below’ has some neo-classical riffing (think Yngwie Malmsteen when he hasn’t been abusing the coffee so much) in it over the more expected blast beat rhythms. Again, you are soon bombarded with more shred guitar that is blitzing without being too scalic and predictable. It’s far from melodic, don’t get the wrong idea, but it’s not Michael Angelo Batio level. If you’re into playing guitar, you will almost certainly respect these guys. The title track’s intro is far slower and more crushing and brings to mind Mayhem at their most brutal. Think the middle section of ‘Freezing Moon’ in terms of intensity. The doom doesn’t long either though, as complete insanity is round the corner with hints of tech and melodic death metal.
‘Eater of Hearts’ has numerous frantic riffs and blitzing solo tradeoffs. In a way, you could compare it to ‘Hanger 18’ by Megadeth. The songwriting isn’t quite as strong with Valgrind, but it’s just as adrenaline pumping. Some dual guitar parts in ‘The Day’ sound like Iron Maiden on steroids. However, in that case those ideas go away too quickly and sound underdeveloped rather than plain old interesting. But that’s a nitpick. ‘Divination’ starts with an ambient part that could be off one of those albums Burzum did when in prison. It would be nice if it was longer than the intro piece as it’s perfect to losing yourself to. As you may expect, more death metal follows but this time the sense of surprise isn’t as strong as it was at the start of the album. The ambience does come back at the end of the song but in a different form (it’s actually quite poignant!), and again, it could have been expanded upon.
In conclusion, a death metal fan would be greedy to want anything more than this. Valgrind give you it ALL, without sounding at all cluttered. The excitement doesn’t stop for a second (apart from when it’s supposed to) and it never gets dull. Sure the band aren’t completely reinventing the wheel with their work, but who does really whilst sounding so cool and addictive and not plain weird or boring? Hardly anyone. Many riffs have a lot to them and rival bands like Pantera in terms of complexity, but many others are kind of safe. You might find the lead parts get a little tiresome towards the end, but that all depends on taste. This album is strongly recommended for all death metal fans!