VALBORG “Der Alte”

By Dr. Abner Mality

VALBORG is a German band that’s been around the block and then some. As their press points out, they’ve never really broken through to mass acceptance. Maybe that’s because their style seems to morph from album to album, ranging from Goth rock to black metal to evil shoegaze. This time around, the Krauts have stripped down to the bone and offer up an album of short, heavy and raw songs.

It’s described as “death sludge” but that is not accurate, at least to this here doctor’s ears. This sounds similar to what MANTAR did on their last album, with songs that have a strong feel of noise rock and punk as well as metal. There’s still some shifting going on. “Asbach” opens the album with a song so basic and raw, it’s like meat ripped off the bone. “Kommando aus der Zukunft” plods in doomy fashion, “Urecho” is based on tribal bass and drum that’s primitive and caveman-like, the title track brings in a kind of droning post-punk feel. Some tracks sound almost identical to each other. “Mortum” is probably the closest VALBORG gets to death metal, but still doesn’t really cross the line.

It gets the job done in no-frills fashion. The keyboards and moaning vocals that popped up in prior albums have been ditched, so fans of that version of VALBORG will find this disappointing. But for those who wanted the band to tackle a heavier, more direct approach should be satisfied with this knuckle-dragging bruiser.