Power metal, in the same vein as such acts as Iron Maiden and Megadeth, doesn’t seem to get much play anymore. With a constantly changing metal scene, old genres keep expanding and evolving. Well, Valkyrie, a band from Virginia, has decided to try and revive the power metal genre but with more of a Southern, sludgy groove thrown in for good measure.
The group’s new album, Man of Two Visions, has a lot of ambition and energy. The two brothers who founded the band, Jake and Pete Adams, play their guitars with pure authority and know-how. Strong attitudes aside, hasn’t time passed on music like this? The wall of sound is in your face and seems to have potential, but in a time and place where the metal world changes at the same rate as gas prices, I just can’t find much room for a band like Valkyrie in a listener’s library.
The constantly galloping riffs and drum beats are nothing new. It doesn’t seem to do anything new for the metal genre. Songs like “Running Out” and ”Apocalypse Unsealed” sound like something off of Powerslave or Number of the Beast.
Now, setting ambition aside, the musicians don’t even seem to be all that technical. Actually, to be honest, it is a bit boring. The same notes are played over again, and the soloing seems to cover the same keys, song after song. Harmonies between the brother guitarists are interesting and all, but the fact that they sound like a watered down version of Mastodon or Baroness is a bit off-putting. Take the song “False Dreams” for example: an atmosphere is worked toward but never fully realized. That’s a good encapsulation of the whole album.
The sparse vocals are very 80’s. The two brothers will occasionally branch off into high pitched vocal harmonies that would have been of great use to the music if it didn’t end up sounding like QueensrÃ¿che’s lead singer, Geoff Tate.
So now we reach the final verdict: psychedelic power metal with tones, riffs and song structures the metal world has already heard almost a full 30 years ago does nothing for an ever-changing music genre. The constant guitar soloing doesn’t show virtuosity, but shows a band that is wandering through different realms of metal to try and find a voice of their own. Now, a sludge factor is thrown into the mix, but it is definitely not enough to save this album from being an unmemorable experience. Valkyrie doesn’t have a lot going for it, the potential of ever becoming top shelf material is non-existant and this band will be forgotten just as fast as they were brought into the world. Don’t get me wrong, they rock… if we were still living in the 80’s. There is just nothing special about the music, nothing to keep listeners around and interested.