Velkhanos – The Wrath (Art Gates Records)Sunday, 28th June 2020
Fresh blood always invigorates the metal scene. Velkhanos are a five-piece combo coming out of Spain, together since 2018 and releasing their debut full-length for The Wrath. Considering many artists enjoy a hybrid concept as they broaden influences under the metal umbrella, these musicians choose to take an melodic death metal / extreme platform and inject a mixture of cultural/traditional aspects that keep the songs bubbling with interesting twists and excitement. The creative push and pull creates numerous engaging moments song to song, especially for those who love Dark Tranquillity or Arch Enemy against some classic King Diamond or Iron Maiden riffs, runs, and circular themes.
The traditional spots can be prevalent right away on the initial guitar hook for “Vulcano” which then builds out between the gruff male growls and Miriam Ortiz’s natural clean female register as the heavier crunchy riffs and double-kick fueled arrangement plays out – venturing into Children of Bodom territory during the flashy guitar lead break. The band can go from extreme blasting, tremolo-infused measures with dark growls to Therion-like operatic melodies or classically-charged acoustic activities – all of which you here in the 6:14 “The Last Day”, whereas the standard Arch Enemy-like firepower with twin guitar tradeoffs and crushing rhythms allows “Bring Me the Fire” to be an early front half favorite. Often the mid-tempo tracks contain the catchiest aspects – setting up speedy transitions perfect for headbanging or stage diving antics, as “Dagon” achieves through this hypnotic, cultural mainframe as tapping/shredding guitar work floats in, out, and about as necessary. Pulling out all the low chanting, bells, and whistles for the start of “The Eye of God”, it’s another six-minute plus track that again travels into a melodic death and gothic chess match that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Add in the vicious blood-stained and skull adorned cover art, and its apparent Velkhanos are well on their way to taking a standard set of melodic death meets traditional/gothic influences and make it their own. The Wrath has gripping songs and versatility within those tracks to maintain interest from many metal consumers – so let’s see how things develop as they gain seasoning and maturity.