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Vhaldemar: Against All Kings

I had the good fortune of reviewing their last fantastic release an EP called Old King's Visions and this latest effort a full LP entitled Against All Kings continues a fantasy-filled lyrical tradition of opposing autocratic rule and fighting for freedom in every form. They make it intellectual and fun. A rare combo.

The album opens with an Udo-influenced track "Metalizer" that assaults the senses with a flare of Germanic opera mixed with Spanish style and stucacco guitar. The second track is very much in tune with what Vhaldemar has been doing with this Old King theme, with "Old King's Visions (Part V) another chapter in the Old King saga that never grows tired as each song brings a new progressive vibe and stronger band cohesion. As the saga unfolds the band grows in melodic confidence and vocal consistency. It's gratifying and inspiring to be a part of a unique concept spread over a few releases. Musically, the title track "Against All Kings" takes a lesson from Fifth Angel and hangs in the hall of best songs I have heard in the past ten years. The guitar work is simply superior in every chord but still serves a vocalist whom is committed to being the very best. This is only the third track and I can't believe there are still eight more left. Vhaldemar is hitting its stride and screams to be one of the best metal albums released in 2017.

"Eye for an Eye" is what Dokken could have been if it had a singer capable of singing more than ballads and love-slick songs. The Lynch-flavored offerings are to die for and brings me back to a time when I saw Dokken live in Germany and said, " if only they were heavier." "I Will Stand Forever" is a rousing but straight-ahead rocker and runs right into "Howling at the Moon" which is a heavily Helloween crafted track perfect in every respect of progressive credentials and vocal shadings. If you love that group, as I do, you will begin to respect and love Vhaldemar who take their influence to a higher level and add a thrash element that makes it theirs for all time.

In "The Last to Die" Vhademar switches gears abruptly turn black metal a 'la Venom to great fanfare and absolute fun. King Diamond would be in the front row clapping with this powerful number of dark kings and darker justice. It's smart, snappy, and but doesn't hold anything back or anything black. I'm not a black metal cheerleader but this song is years ahead of the cliché doom offerings of lesser committed bands.

The album essentially closes with the last full track "Rebel Mind" a speed metal mashup of Vhaldemar vocal stylings and Helloween-influenced guitar work and phenomenal drum work worthy of its own praise. Other than Warbringer, I am at a loss in mentioning many bands with the artistic intensity to make the old sound new. Vhaldemar make speed, thrash, progressive, black and power metal happen in such ways as to still maintain a musical originality and integrity.

Track Listing

  1. "Metalizer"
  2. "Old King's Visions (Part V)"
  3. "Against All Kings"
  4. "Eye For An Eye"
  5. "I Will Stand Forever"
  6. "Vulcano"
  7. "Howling At The Moon"
  8. "The Last To Die"
  9. "Walking In The Rain"
  10. "Rebel Mind"
  11. "Titans In D Minor"

Added: November 21st 2017
Reviewer: Mark Antony Rossi
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 659
Language: english

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