Sunday, July 31, 2016
Valient Thorr : "Old Salt"
This is not our first rodeo here with this band. I find myself questioning if they are a metal band at all on this album, there is some good punk rock that finds itself in the alleyway punk crawled from as rock n roll with the attitude dialed up to 11. Bands like the Stooges, Mc5, Dead Boys and Ramones broke new ground in this era. Here is where this southern band finds themselves pulling from on the first two songs. There is some punch to the oddly syncopated "the Trudge". Vocally it owes more to Rollins time in Black Flag, though the guitar carries a little bit metal chug to it. It's more punk in the same way Murder City Devils were punk rather than owing much to Sabbath or Priest. The southern rock thing is dialed back as well, there are hints of it in the guitar solos.
There is a weird angular Fugazi thing going on with "Worm Up". As whole this album indulges in being much more angular that what I have heard from them in the past, but without the beards these guys would almost be a southern rock version of Minus the Bear on this one. If Kvelertak is still to heavy for you then these guys might scratch the itch for quirky punk rock. "Spellbroke" might not be as focused when it comes to the songwriting, but the herky jerky energy seems to compensate. There is a more metallic attack to "the Shroud". It is not the album's most inspired song. There is some Mastodon like riffing on this one, coupled with a more old school Accept like fist pumping.
"Looking Glass" opens with very 80s sounding gang vocal. The album closes with "Jealous Gods" . It's more of a relaxed boogie groove, with touches of math in the angular way the guitar interacts. Vocally Valient Himself is good for a punk singer, but holds a tune on the lower end of the scale of rock singers with a somewhat similar limited range. But he makes due since the showcase is really the guitars. I'll round this album up to a 9, it's a vast improvement for these guys and the arrangements make the stripping away of the metal trappings more palatable.