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Heroes of Vallentor: The Warriors Path Part I

When I was a kid, I took art lessons for a little while. I was also obsessed with knights and so I asked my teacher if I could draw a picture of knights fighting. I still have that picture and, to some extent, I maintain my interest in knights, castles, and so on. As I got older, I began to read fantasy novels, to play Dungeons and Dragons, and to imagine what it would be like to go on a great adventure. I don't do much with those interests these days, but I remember these parts of my childhood fondly.

This album by Heroes of Vallentor reminds me of my childhood passion for knights and fantasy quests. I confess that I worry there's something rather hard about getting this kind of entertainment just right. The problem, I think, is that a passion for knights and fantasy quests are sometimes vulnerable to misunderstanding, may perhaps even appear to be unintentionally humorous. Some readers will certainly see Heroes of Vallentor in exactly that way. After all, this is a relentlessly earnest album, one that is committed to bringing to listeners an idea of all the honor, glory, and adventure of a knight's quest to its music. Such passion is not unknown to heavy metal, of course—just think of bands like Manowar and countless others.

To listen to this album is to get lost in a world of fantasy, the kind one might enjoy while working through a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, building Lego castles, reading fantasy adventures, or watching fantasy movies. And so far as I can tell, the guys in this band take everything they are doing very seriously. It's too serious in the end, but the album nevertheless works well in places. I feel like I should add one more thought, mostly because I don't want to oversell my own point. This album is overly serious, feels a bit old fashioned most of the time, and sometimes simply doesn't quite work. Much of the music feels like a serious nod to the old school, complete with Rob Halford style vocals—the soaring, high-pitched stuff that made him famous. It also has plenty of that wonderful 80s-style chug-chug-chug-chug of the guitars. I liked the album in part because I was a kid in the 80s and the music fuelled a sense of nostalgia. Still, I didn't love it for its own sake. It was fun, but not unforgettable.

Track Listing:
1. The Quest
2. Warriors Path
3. The Questing Knights Vow
4. Lord of Fire
5. Vengeance
6. Knights of Death
7. Hawtalon
8. The Forlorn Watchman
9. Lawgiver
10. We Will Fight With Courage
11. The Sword of Heroes

Added: November 21st 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1048
Language: english

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