Valkeryon – Vision Of Fire
Reviewed By Kevin Hathaway
A band so fresh that even their official Facebook page says next to nothing about them (“Power/progressive metal band from Panama” is about the most I got from even the almighty Google), I really wasn’t sure what I was in for when I popped on Valkeryon’s debut Vision Of Fire. The cover art’s pretty rad at least; there’s lots of fire, and a dude in a cool mask and armor. My instincts told me, just from the cover art, that this might be some crunchy, guitar-driven power metal in the vein of Dream Evil.
Oh how wrong I was. How do I describe this? You know that oddly specific “not-quite-slow-enough-to-be-mid-paced-but-still-too-unenergetic-to-really-evoke-anything-and-it-probably-doesn’t-help-that-it’s-drowned-in-simplistic-orchestrations” brand of power metal that bands like Astral Domine, Heralds Of The Sword, and Rhapsody of Fire on Dark Wings Of Steel have been playing (WHEW!)? Yeah, that’s pretty much what Valkeryon is doing here. Poor Dan, he must be having an aneurysm right now being reminded of the two former bands. What helps lift Valkeryon above anything listed here is vocalist Rubens, who sounds a heck of a lot like DC Cooper when he uses his upper register. Seeing as I am a hyperactive Cooper fanboy, this does wonders for me.
The biggest drawback on Vision Of Fire, however, lies in its choruses, which are something one really doesn’t want to mess up in power metal. “Culture War, Pt. 1: Dunas” (and Pt. 2, even) would be so much better if the chorus wasn’t so awkwardly paced. Otherwise, it evokes a nice, vaguely Egyptian atmosphere that one doesn’t get to hear too frequently in power metal. The solos also rip pretty hard occasionally. “Umbra Wars” features a technically showy solo section, but also has a simplistic and amateur sing-songy chorus that sounds noticeably slower than the rest of the song, and only serves to drags things down. Heck, the tempo in every chorus on this disc is like that. “Culture War, Pt. 1” has a piano section at the end where the chorus is repeated over it. It sounds like Valkeryon is slowing things down in this part, but the chorus is sung at the same speed as it is in the rest of the song, and it made the finale so awkward to my ears when I realized this. The choruses require some work, but everything else is executed fairly competently, especially Rubens’ vocals. I can tell he’s doing the absolute best he can with these dull melody lines, and I commend him for that. The keys are also kind of ho-hum, moving along fairly predictable lines and offering melodies with some cheesy, simplistic, and rather loud fanfares that drown out any possible riffage going on.
It’s an earnest effort, but Valkeryon misses the mark on its debut thanks in part largely to one glaring problem – forgettable choruses. Otherwise, Vision Of Fire is a pretty safe power/prog debut that doesn’t take a lot of chances. Glimmers of brilliance shine through in songs like the high-energy “Corruption”, but on the whole, the record falls a bit short. The potential for something very good is present, especially with this singer. Valkeryon just needs to realize it for the next album.
3.0 // 5