A country like Indonesia wouldn’t come to your mind when I talk about black metal. Well.. Let me introduce Vallendusk to you. Formed in 2011, these guys have a few releases already. Concepts like nature, nostalgia and feelings form the essence of their sound so we can expect that mixture of a brutal and melodic sound. Their latest and third full-length is called “Fortress of Primal Grace”.
I gotta admit; one of the main reasons I picked this promo was to experience the black metal atmosphere from the eyes of an Indonesian band. All in all, I am not familiar with the scene there. Upon the first spin, I have been quite impressed with their overall sound and vision as I can see that the band put a lot of effort into the album. They also state that they took their sound and ideas further with this album so we can consider this release as a development and improvement of their previous release. This is indeed the case; from the arrangements to the drums, every element is in harmony and the overall production is superb and professional. Just as I expected, this nice mixture of the brutal sound reflected by the vocals and the melodic elements in the guitars make the album a good one.
Although the band describes their sound as epic/melodic black metal, I wouldn’t categorize them strictly. Surely, I hear the BM atmosphere in the vocals and the riffs at times but most often, I rather hear a mixture of pagan/folk metal more than BM (especially in those nice instrumental passages!). Considering that the nature is one aspect the band deals with, these elements form a nice aspect in their essence and this has been one of the highlights for me.
One thing I would maybe criticize is the length of the songs. For the songs to be long enough, they need to have one hell of versatility and even some progressive atmosphere. In this case though, I don’t think that the band needed long songs as I felt that the songs repeated themselves often, which was a buzz-killer sometimes. In a sound and album like this, the band could have maintained that atmosphere without composing long songs. Apart from that, the album has definitely met my expectations though. Definitely recommended to the lovers of nature and melodic BM/pagan metal.
Highlights: Coronation, At the Heart of the Storm, Higher Ground
Rizky – vocals, lyrics
Valendino Mithos – lead Guitar
Danang Sugianto – rhythm guitar
Derick Prawira – drums, arrangement
1. The Presences
2. In Reverie
4. At the Heart of the Storm
6. Higher Ground
7. The Shield