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Review

Vhäldemar – Shadows of Combat Review

Band: Vhäldemar
Album: Shadows of Combat
Label: Fighter Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Spain
Release Date: June 12, 2018

Right now, I’m sitting down at my computer really trying to think of something to say about Vhäldemar’s new release because at its core it is not a new release. This is a rerelease of their fourth album that came out in 2013, they are re-releasing it for their new label. The band hail from Spain, one of the main producers for pure heavy metal music. I am not a big fan of this album but before I get into that I want to talk about the good sides of this album.

First off, If you enjoy pure heavy metal or 80’s metal, you will enjoy this album. It screams bands like Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Dokken. There are a few interesting moments in the album, my favourites being the two instrumentals in the album. The album is at an odd border of speed metal and hair metal where it loops between the two constantly really sending the album in as a love letter to classic metal. You can hear the fun and the pride the band takes in their music which is something that is always awesome to hear, you can never have enough of it in truth. That being said though, it makes the cons of the albums much worse.
The first issue in the album is glaring and terrible, it can be heard even on the first listen, that is that every song sounds very similar unless you listen closely. Even after three or four listens, it is still hard to tell songs apart and everything blends together into a big pile of high pitched vocals and loud guitars. In that way, this is similar to the bands I referenced earlier, there’s a lot of noise to the music but very little depth, something I don’t like in my music personally. The music is not bad, there is definitely talent in the playing and in the solos. That being said, this sounds hollow, I can hear the fun and the pride from the band but I cannot hear the conviction and power that you hear amongst similar bands like Accept and Metal Law.

Vhäldemar shows that they have talent, however, they do not show the willingness to grow beyond the point they are at. They have a fully fleshed out sound, something they can call theirs but how many other bands have a sound just like this one? They are not revolutionizing the heavy metal game with this album. This is no “British Steel” or “The Number of the beast” it is instead similar to “Turbo” and “Piece of mind”. “Shadows of Combat” is not a masterpiece, it is listenable music, barely listenable. The band is generic heavy metal, which is a necessary thing. For every Slayer out there we have to have a couple of mediocre acts. You could mix this into a big playlist of classic metal from the 80’s and hope it gets sprinkled into the random shuffle with each song being just far enough away from each other for you to forget its in there and that is the only way I could listen to this album again.
Even after the bad, I’ve said I cannot say I hold anything against the band and at the end of the day, they make people happy with their music which is something every band wants to be able to say. Vhäldemar is not my kind of band, many people I know will not like them but there are people who will. The band is a good example of radio-friendly heavy metal, maybe in twenty years, their music will appear as the heavy metal music behind things being destroyed in movies or huge action scenes.

Rating 4/10

Tracklist:
1. Rock City
2. Black Thunder
3. Danger Street
4. The Rest of My Life
5. Beginning
6. Shadows of Combat
7. The Old Man
8. Old Kings Visions (Part IV)
9. Power of the Night
10. End of the World
11. Metal and Roll
12. Oblivion
13. King of the Night

Total Playing Time: 45:22

The epitome of power metal and folk metal (although a big fan of doom too). You can catch me playing/writing for dungeons and dragons with my friends at the local tabletop game store.

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