Год : 2003 Страна :Spain (Vizcaya) Стиль : Power Metal
Tracklist : 1. Welcome To... 00:45 2. Rebellion 04:22 3. Holywar 04:11 4. Revenge (Shadow of the King, Part III) 04:38 5. Bigwigs 05:30 6. Raise Your Tankard 04:55 7. No Time to Surrender 03:36 8. Carpathian Tales: Countess Bathory 05:47 9. Carpathian Tales: Vlad the Impaler 06:32 10. The Fallen Angels 04:46 11. Dark Side of Life 05:00 12. In the Navy (Village People cover) 04:36 Playing Time :54:38
I think it's been roundabout a year or so that I could review VALHALLA's first strike "Guardians Of Metal" and the Spaniards back then could definitely convince me with their powerful and fresh sounding Power Metal. Great sound, Derek Riggs cover, for an independent release more than just remarkable, I really liked it.
By now they have been signed by Basque label Goi Music and with "Nightbreed" I know hold their label debut in my hands and musically the folks around guitarist Jevo did not change much, but in this case this is something positive, because why should a band that does what they do good, really change much? Exactly. Melodic Power is the style of this quintet and one thing right away - they at times sound more like HELLOWEEN than HELLOWEEN themselves. With that I mean that the vocals of Patxa partly are very, very close to Michael Kiske and the guitars and melodylines are pretty close to the Hamburg based pumpkin heads as well. But minus the very happy melodies, so not a HELLOWEEN copy. So, as we have just lost at least two thirds of all readers, I'd like to go even a bit further. I have a kind of motto, "better a good copy than a bad original".
I know, with that I am just giving a whole armada of bands a potential raison d'être that I had not planned like that, but in the case of VALHALLA this is pretty valid. Even more so, if the band approaches the whole thing with such an energy, so that it makes it even harder to get upset about a lack of originality, and it is not that VALHALLA really are a pure copy, they have the originators of Power Metal just as a strong influence, in the end the Spaniards bring in enough of their own ideas, so it is not as dramatic as it may have read in the beginning, hehe.
"Nightbreed"'s cover will most probably lead many into the wrong direction, because with the skull, autumn alley and grave crosses, plus the title and the used font (Ogilvie) you most likely do not say Power Metal, but rather Death or Black Metal, but the first sounds of "Welcome To..." make it clear right away. "Rebellion" seamlessly follows up the intro and that with a crunchy guitar intro, which with pyros turns into a double-bass driven speed smasher, which should make every genre fan's heart beat higher for a bit. As said before, deeply rooted in the region around HELLOWEEN the Spaniards deliver their material with such an energy and passion that you just have to start grinning more and more, the shout choirs surely also add their part in this. "Revenge (Shadow Of The King Part III)" then lets you look at your speakers in disbelief, if maybe Michael Kiske DID do a guest appearance, because this sounds extremely close to the original. And even though the music contains double-bass and crunchy guitars, together with a very catchy chorus, sounds good, just like "Bigwigs" stands quite close to the "Keeper" albums.
But then something that does not sound like them at all: "Raise Your Tankard". No, not a hymn to Frankfurt's own bembel bombers, but a kind of drinking hymn (I know, in that way a kind of tribute to Gerre and friends), which in its relative simplicity and catchiness is a killer. Live a sure fire hit, even during the first listen you can already sing along loudly, damn good track. And something special we also get with the "Carpathian Tales" duo, "Countess Bathory" and "Vlad The Impaler", for one because of the historic lyrics, then also musically, because here VALHALLA go away from their role models (at least on the dark "Countess Bathory") and bring their own touch in, strong duo that is really enjoyable!
"The Fallen Angels" is a stomper with good guitars and a very nice choir before "Dark Side Of Life" closes things off balladesque/powerful, bombastic and epic, but still completely acoustic, Patxa's expressive vocals bear this song, which with its keyboards and the epic choir reminds me quite a bit of MANOWAR's masterpiece "The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings)" or also RHAPSODY's "Echoes Of Tragedy" and also quality wise can absolutely compete with them, strong, very strong! And after that… "In The Navy"... Look into your memory… VILLAGE PEOPLE? Exactly! A brilliant Power Metal version of the Disco classic, complete with thundering guitars and double-bass drums, great! And then there still is a funny computer game by guitarist Jevo, nice bonus I would say
So what is the verdict? Too close to HELLOWEEN? Partly yes, but in the end VALHALLA still make it, so that the Germans are only an influence, but they use enough of their own ideas and some of the songs are just damn great, so that I can hand out deserved 7,5 points without a bad conscience! (Online December 21, 2003) metal-observer