Jun 16, 2011
Valborg - Barbarian ...
The previous effort of Valborg in “Glorification of Pain” and “Crown of Sorrow” was really amazing. I went through a few of their tracks in those previous albums, and I was blown away. My interest grew sufficiently for me to spin “Barbarian” a few times before I wrote this review.
The opening track is an intro track filled with Keyboard and few Drum beats lasting for a few seconds, before the track “Astral Kingdom” takes over with a nice intro and good clean vocals. It is a slow track with a lot of variation throughout. “Astral Kingdom” has a feel of power metal tinged with darkness in terms of song writing. It is a very catch track to start off and actually makes the listener look forward to the rest of the album.
The next track “Battlefield Of Souls” is slightly different in terms of approach. The vocals are a bit gruffy and the pace of the music is both slow and mid paced intermittently.
The first two tracks give some idea of what can be expected out of this album. A lot of variation is noticed, as each song is very different. The track which makes a mark is “Exterminator.” The vocals are a mix of clean and gruffy, suited aptly to the slow-paced music. There are instance of repetition, but that does not make any difference, as the music is simply amazing.
Overall Valborg have established a singular sound - distant, yet phenomenally phrased drumming; an affinity for Tom G's tones; and a pronounced focus on creating a greyed-out, swarming-cold atmosphere. Yet, despite these traits, one never really knows what to expect....things trail off for a bit.
Vocally, the band typically deals in haunting baritones, gravel-splattered bellows, and pained howls. But "Samantha Alive" employs somber / soaring clean vocals and it is more or less a rock ballad.
Usually when you see progressive thrown into the beginning or end of a genre, it could cover the whole stretch between overused cheesy vocals and lame clean tone intros galore; right up to unique, groundbreaking, overall funky music with lots of new sounds used well. Luckily, “Barbarian” delves into the latter, delivering such an odd presentation of acoustic instruments, rhythm and tone that is undeniably and undoubtedly right at the top.
The guitaring in the entire album is really good and the sound they have got is something very different; and that is one of the reasons why some of the tracks really stand out. The drumming has some purpose and most of the time the song structure is very slow. But the drummer has maintained the timing and there are little scopes for variation.
Somewhere down the line, one tends to get a feeling that Valborg are going in different directions and trying a lot of variations in the song structure. The comparison with their previous albums brings to the forth that this is undoubtedly their own unique style.
If some listeners are particular about focus and direction they will be disappointed; but if they appreciate the music what Valborg play, they will be blow away! “Barbarian” is an interesting album and their artwork is as interesting as their music. It is hard fit this band in one particular genre. “Barbarian” has been an unforgettable journey and is a must for someone who is longing for a break from the monotonous, run of the mill music.
Review Written By Mahesh