Valar Morghulis – Fields Of Ashes
(Album Review) By Rainer Kerber
Here is my coming out. I am an avowed Game Of Thrones fan. Thus, the five-piece band from Italy could arouse my interest immediately. Valar Morghulis comes from the Valyrian and means “All people must die”. The following can be read in the press text: “Born amidst the mists of winter 2017, Valar Morghulis hails from the fog-cloaked lands surrounding Milan.” Influences include Within Temptation, Ensiferum, Arch Enemy and Nightwish. You can already imagine where the musical journey is going. The EP “The Origins” was released in October of the same year. In early 2019, the quintet landed a record deal with Volcano Records and immediately began work on the debut album “Fields Of Ashes”. The album appeared on the Dark Hammer Legion. The textual content also fits in with the Phantasy series and tells of struggle and strife, wild nature and dark characters, myths and legends.
Anyone who believes that the soundtrack for the popular television series is reinvented is wrong. Valar Morghulis just play heavy metal. So “Where The Blackfish Dwell” rocks forward. Isobelle’s expressive clear vocals alternate with the growls of her band colleagues. The double bass is used massively. This is melodic Power Metal of European origin. The twin guitars can be heard on the somewhat quieter “A Love And Battle Song”. The singer has an extremely pleasant dark timbre. Not a classic metal voice but also not an opera soprano. The two guitarists also take turns with the melodious solos. After the straight rock song “Broken Eagle” follows the wonderful power ballad “Devil’s Dreams”. Actually astonishing what pleasant dreams the devil obviously has. The speed only increases towards the end. But it doesn’t get really devilish here either. This song is a highlight on the album. “Dreadfort” afterwards also is placed in the mid-tempo range. With the great melody arches, this track is a real metal anthem. In contrast, “Darvulia” is a speed metal bouncer with a thrash edge. Shortly before the end follows “Queen Of Hades”, the second metal anthem. Here Isobelle ventures into higher ranges. The vocals don’t always sound clean. Here dissonances were deliberately built in. The final song “To The Walls” offers high-speed power metal again.
Although Within Temptation and Nightwish were mentioned as references, the songs are not covered with keyboards. Fortunately, excessive bombast is also sought in vain. The Italians chose the harder pace. However, great emphasis is placed on beautiful melodies. Sounds like a contradiction. But this ying and yang of heavyness and melody have been implemented very well by Valar Morghulis. “Fields Of Ashes” is a compelling debut album. And certainly, much more than just an insider tip.
VALAR MORGHULIS – Dreadfort (Official Lyric Video): https://youtu.be/rYdJf8VprWg
Isobelle – Vocals
Rob Banfi – Bass, Clean and Screamed Vocals
Luca Mapelli – Guitar, Growl Vocals
Lorenzo Pagani – Guitar
Valerio Villa – Drums
Label: Dark Hammer Legion (Volcano Records & Promotions)
Out: November 8th, 2019
Playing time: 47:26
- Where The Blackfish Dwell
- A Love And Battle Song
- Broken Eagle
- Devil’s Dreams
- Queen Of Hades
- To The Walls
Rating : 8/10
MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber