Valborg – Endstrand (Lupus Lounge)

Tuesday, 28th March 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

There may be no better endorsement than ex-Celtic Frost/current Triptykon leader Tom G. Warrior stating Valborg are “abundantly original and unique.” It’s not every day Mr. Tom G. outwardly praises a band, you know. But per his habit, Tom is dead-on about Valborg: they are rather unique, obtuse at times, but radical all the time. Strangely placed under the doom banner, the Germans play a simplistic, driving, if not militaristic style of no-frills metal. Above all else, this is some ungodly heavy stuff, a brazen cross of Godflesh, classic Celtic Frost and Killing Joke, which is why their sixth album Endstrand resonates so much.

Some credit should go to producer Markus Siegenhort of Lantlôs fame, who gave Valborg their deep-pocket, pulsating drum sound. It’s the perfect beat and rhythm; almost danceable (!) in a way, but when the band’s basic, but terribly effective riffs start to churn, there’s nothing else to do but duck and cover. As such, cuts like “Blut am Eisen,” “Beerdigungsmaschine” and the infectious “Ave Maria” cut with an industrial-like precision, bolstered by the harsh vocals of Jan Buckard. (The album is sung nearly in its entirety in German, but no matter.)

Endstrand strikes like a ten-ton hammer so frequently because of Valborg’s economy. There’s not an iota of filler across the album’s 13 songs, thus creating a heads-down, propulsive, ultra-charged body of work that makes good on the band’s “original and unique” distinction. Meet the new face of nihilism. Its name is Valborg.

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