Valor – Arrogance: The Fall (Pitch Black Records)Wednesday, 31st May 2017
Greece has been a steady supporter of heavy metal – giving rapturous response to Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, and Manilla Road among others through any ups, downs and twists of the genre. Shouldn’t be that surprising then to have domestic groups aspiring to climb those levels of glory like the current sextet under review Valor. Forming in 2002 and slowly issuing an EP and two full-lengths over the next 11 years, Arrogance: The Fall is a pivotal third record to potentially cement the band’s reputation or keep them in the ranks of ‘what could have been’ (Lost Horizon, anyone?). After a few passes, the 10 tracks still possess many of the 80’s-oriented metal qualities that garner interest – but the enhanced AOR- keyboard presence and mid-tempo arrangement prevalence may push some listeners astray.
There are many times when the needs of the song would be best served with a ‘less is more’ philosophy. Vocal harmonies can elevate choruses, but are they truly necessary in the first lines of verses as “In the Name of Valor” illustrates- especially when flat lining any musical momentum? It’s not as if Vaggelis Krouskas doesn’t have the personality, presence or projection to pull off his melodies – he captures attention in a dramatic, semi-Messiah Marcolin meets Bruce Dickinson fashion on “Dark Are the Eyes of the Night”, but often chooses to stay in a mid-range comfort zone instead of belting things out a little more. The majestic guitar riffs that command crowd cheers occur in spots – “Arrogant Fail” in the quick hitting harmonic run against a marching template, or the darker cut and chase keyboard/guitar dives for “Pandora’s Gift” – keeping Valor in the game.
It’s obvious the six-piece studied under the mid-80’s greats of Queensrÿche, Heir Apparent, and maybe a more melodic Pretty Maids template. Arrogance: The Fall could attain many segments of those followings, but if Valor hope to move beyond local hero appeal, stretching some dynamic boundaries and switching up the tempos needs serious consideration.
Valor on Facebook