VALGRIND     “Millenium of Night Bliss”

By Dr. Abner Mality

I vaguely remember hearing VALGRIND’s previous album and being impressed with it. The Italians now return and it is achingly obvious within seconds that they are slavishly devoted to the first three MORBID ANGEL albums. The guitarist out-Treys Mr. Azagthoth with every Lovecraftian note of his guitar solos while the vocalist seems equally smitten with Martin van Drunen’s trademark phlegmmy emanations. The first two tracks are MORBID almost to the point of being out-takes from M.A.’s early albums.

It’s not bad at all if you like that kind of death metal, but it’s rather wearying to hear another band getting such blatant inspiration in these days when many death metal acts seem to be living in a time warp. There are a few odd things (and one VERY odd thing) that show VALGRIND is trying to mix it up a little bit. “Tenebra Corona Mundi” is a melodic instrumental with shredding almost neoclassical guitar soloing that reminds me of James Murphy’s tone. “Fear From Beyond” is a more cinematic instrumental with narration that tries for atmosphere, but we’ve heard it all before.

The band’s outstanding track here is “Oracle of Death”, which has some really out there tech-death guitar riffs that bounce along in almost cheerful fashion. The only thing I can compare it to is PESTILENCE at their most outre. The tech-y parts mix really well with catchier crunch riffs to come up with a really strong song that comes close to giving VALGRIND an actual identity instead of being a tribute to death metal giants of old.

Nothing about this album is bad if you like MORBID ANGEL influenced death metal but I would wish for something more unique. “Oracle of Death” shows they have it in them.