Valdur – At War With (Bloody Mountain Records)

Friday, 13th December 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Who is Valdur at war with on their newest full-length effort?  Is it God?  The Devil?  Big business?  Themselves?  Perhaps it’s the local grocery store after they ran out of Captain Crunch and they had to settle for the generic brand (which we all know is never as good as the brand name, with it’s nasty aftertaste)?  Unfortunately, we may never know.  Apparently they did not get the message that in today’s world of Internet jargon and lingo, the most kvlt thing you can do with your album title is actually write a complete sentence.  All kidding aside, rest assured that whomever it is that Valdur is at war with, they are pretty pissed of about it.

Deathened black metal or blackened death metal, which ever your preference, just know that Valdur delivers it in spades.  The California based band exceeds at a production just grimy enough to get the point across without sounding too “nice” while occasionally throwing some spiked gauntlets in the air at traditional black metal conventions.  While there certainly are standard, blast beats a-plenty with tremolo-picking galore moments, like the aptly titled “Hellish Discord” and “At War With the Old World” the band succeeds where they occasionally slow things down a few notches.  “Incantre” has a doomy, Incantation-esque vibe to it and oozes a grim atmosphere to accompany it.  Opener “Conjuring the Fire Plagues” (well, if you don’t count the mostly unnecessary intro track), sports a number of dynamic tempos that keep things feeling pretty fresh and instrumental “Vast” has an almost spooky opening/ending and eerie sound that serves as a breath of fresh air at the midway point of the disc.

At War With has some real standout moments that keep it above the usual generic black metal ranks.  While some of the tracks lose some ground with extended length, if the band can find a way to continue to hone in on these moments with their next release, they could be onto something truly outstanding.

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