Valtari – Hunter’s Pride (Self-Released)

Monday, 10th March 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Sometimes as a writer, there is a bit of a conflict between wanting to gush about a particular band versus a growing pessimism that “you’ve heard it all before.”  Sometimes in hearing the sheer volume of material that comes across after doing this for years, it’s easy to lump things into the “been there, done that 50 times” column.  Such is the case with Valtari’s latest effort.  Valtari is the one-man project of Aussie Marty Warren.  Hunter’s Pride is his sophomore effort, following up 2012’s Fragments of a Nightmare.  By all means, this is your standard fare melodic death metal so if you feel that ship has sailed, nothing on Hunter’s Pride will convince you otherwise; but for all others, it’s safe to say that you’ll enjoy the ride.

As with any other solid melodic death troupe, Valtari’s greatest strength lies within its guitar lines.  The guitar tone on the melodies itself comes across as rather gorgeous, really enhancing Warren’s ability to consistently nail riff after riff.  The somber union of bands like Children of Bodom, Insomnium, and early In Flames (you know, back when they actually mattered), songs like “In Slides” and “Enshrined in Ice” are sure to tickle your fancy and make you yearn for the late ‘90s, before melodic death metal was starting to be used as a dirty word.  Other tracks like “Tyrant” and “Hunter’s Pride” offer a slightly heavier approach, never leaving the melodies behind of course, but allowing some quality thrashing moments to expose themselves between some beautiful leads.

Hunter’s Pride is not an album that will cited for years to come as a turning point for the genre.  However, it’s an easy album to stand behind if melodic death metal is your bag.  Considering this is a one-man project that is completely self-released, it’s the type of album that one can hope grabs the attention of some label out there, as Marty Warren’s talents and Valtari are deserving of a wider audience.

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