With all my attention focused on the stoner, doom and psychedelic genres, I have overlooked the filthy, bestial black and death metal that I used to love so much, with the new Archgoat being the only record to really catch my attention so far. That was until I caught wind of American black/death metal horde Valdur releasing their fourth full length album Pathetic Scum, two years after the triumphant release that was At War With.
Compared to 2010’s Raven God Amongst Us, Valdur displayed a shift towards the more brutal end of the extreme metal spectrum with At War With. On Pathetic Scum, the band continues to focus on their pursuit of darkness and destruction. The intention to level all things in their path is obvious, as the band is relentless in their aural onslaught. Right from opening track Tank Torture, the increased intensity in the music compared to At War With shows through, with the entire mood created by the band being rather reminiscent of such bestial bands as Teitanblood, Antediluvian, Bestial Raids and the likes. This is especially so in the drumming of Matthew, who brings the works of Black Witchery to mind, as well as the simplistic yet effective riffs of Vuke. ???’s vocals could have easily been representative of the depths of hell, being buried deep within the mix, yet being a vital part of the wall of noise created by the band as a whole.
While the increased shift towards death metal is obvious, the band ensures that they do not abandon their black metal roots. Throughout the record, Valdur cleverly uses black metal elements to reinforce the atmosphere on the record. The dissonant riffs and the feelings of desolation that the band leaves one with on later moments of Tank Torture, for instance, is not too dissimilar from the likes of Satanic Warmaster or other Finnish bands. There is also that element of epic black metal as well, what with the brass instruments that could be distinctively heard on the record.
Similar to At War With, Pathetic Scum‘s production is also rather spacey, and there are moments where comparisons to the works of Pseudogod could be made, with that huge sound that the latter preferred on their stellar debut.
Each album that Valdur has released thus far have seen the band experimenting with the different aspects of their songwriting and playing, from the bleak, black metal of Raven God Amongst Us to the dark, epic death metal style that the band prefers now. It leaves one to guess and anticipate what lies in wait for the next Valdur release, but for now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the darkness that Valdur has bestowed upon us with Pathetic Scum.
1. Tank Torture
2. Impending Doom
3. Blessings of the Goat
4. Pathetic Scum
5. Incantre Pt. II
6. Morbid Emanations