Vhaldemar - Metal of the world 4/5

Reviewed: 9-1-11


1. River of blood
2. Dusty road
3. Saints of hell
4. Metal of the world
5. Wartime
6. My nightmare
7. Wild hearts
8. Bastards
9. Action
10. Light & darkness
11. Arrows flying high
12. Bach's invention (instrumental)
13. Old king's visions (iii)

With their 3rd CD, this Spanish band provides nothing more or less than an incredibly solid slab of gritty power metal, and while itís nothing unique, itís thoroughly satisfying and well done.

Vhaldemarís debut 'Fight to the end' had the power metal speed and anthemic attributes, but vocalist (and guitarist) Carlos Escudero brought something quite a bit different with his gruffer voice, and like Stormwarrior, channeled more of Helloween circa 'Walls of Jericho' than 'Keeper of the seven keys'. The bandís debut was solid and promising, but its successor 'I made my own hell' was a refinement. Well, after a long hiatus, their 3rd CD is the best yet, without a hint of change in their style, the playing, production, and songwriting come together even better.

As mentioned, early one, Escuderoís tough rasp brought to mind more Kai Hansenís early work than the clearer oriented power metal vocalists, but it has its own character, and fits well alongside not only Hansenís early work, but Tornillo on the most recent Accept CD ('Blood of nations'), as well as Grave Digger and Paragon. It must be noted that itís gotten better and better, and on this CD that raw strength is backed up with some incredible polish, and itís now really impressive to hear him power through these songs.

As to the guitar work from Escudero and Pedro J. Monge, itís great as well, alternating between a solidly produced, relentless crunchy thunder, and some great leads and solos with strong melodies and impressive speed. Bassist Oscar Cuadrado and drummer Edu Martinez unleash a constant. Over 12 tracks (plus a brief instrumental), the songs are extremely consistent in tone and style, this could be a drawback for some (who prefer a little bit more variety) or a strength (to those who find a ballad to be nothing more than a filler.)

The CD in some sense embodies the effectively fiery songwriting of the most recent Accept CD, but with a touch more of the power metal speed mixed in. Those looking for something experimental or delicate need look elsewhere. Those who want to listen to work that is highly polished, and yet, embodies the spirit of a European metal fan decked out in a metal-patch covered denim jacket, without compromise, should definitely pick this one up.




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