Genre: Epic Death Metal Extreme Progressive Metal Folk Death Metal
Label: Self Released
Valensorow is a new epic folk death metal band from San Jose, California, USA. They were formed in 2012 by their drummer and songwriter Conner Bruce, who now plays the guitars. After a few shows the band started to grow and soon the line-up was complete. As a six member band, they recorded their debut full-length album “Neptus” at dB Sound Studios in Morgan Hill, California. The album was self-released on the 24th of June 2013 directly by the band.
They label their music as brutal folk metal, but this can only partly describe their sound. “Neptus” includes 12 songs, with many differences between them and a total playtime of 54 minutes. I believe their overall sound is closer to epic melodic death metal, borrowing many elements from folk metal, technical death metal and progressive metal, while there are also metalcore influences in their sound! The band doesn’t combine all these genres in “equal doses”, but each composition has a different mood. There are songs with direct references to bands like Ensiferum and there are also compositions, where the band’s modern sound and metalcore nature becomes more dominant than its epic folk roots. Their dynamic and technical guitars are totally ruling their sound. They also use traditional folk instruments once in a while, which sound very natural by the way. Keyboards remain discreet most of the time, but there are parts where they take the lead, giving a symphonic touch in their sound. Vocals move mostly on the brutal death metal style, with only a few clean male vocals. Their singer Joseph has a wonderful passionate and powerful voice, ideal for this genre. Their guitarist Conner Bruce does the lead vocals in one song, the amazing epic acoustic ballad “Dirge of the Dying“, displaying a more emotional vocal style. Their music moves in quite fast rhythms, but it never becomes tiring, since they always add something interesting in their compositions, like a beautiful folk tune, a progressive technical passage, or an acoustic or symphonic interlude… Valensorow have a crystal clear and powerful sound, where all instruments are perfectly balanced. Their production is totally professional, much above the standards of most self-released debut works! Their lyrics deal with epic fantasy themes in a time when the world was ruled by magic and war.
Valensorow is a very promising band. They released their debut album only one year after their foundation, but the result is very tight, technical and professional, like being together for years! Fans of epic folk death metal, who’d like to listen to a band that experiments with a few touches of progressive and metalcore, better check them. I only hope that the band will try to create an even more personal sound in the future, with a more balanced sorting of their influences. “Neptus” is released by the band in a digipak edition CD, without booklet or lyrics. The cover artwork is painted by Greg Bjurman and the inlet artwork is by Osvaldo Baron. You can follow the links below to find more info about the band. In their Bandcamp page you can listen the whole album for free.