By Mike Bax
Released next week, Shadows, the third full length album from Valkyrie finally hits the streets. The album follows 2010’s Man Of Two Visions (Noble Origin) and their 2006 self-titled debut release, Valkyrie (Twin Earth Records). While the album is indeed a project with which Pete Adams (Baroness, Samhain) contributes both vocals and guitars, Valkyrie was originally established by Pete’s brother Jake, a few years before Pete joined in. Where Baroness pursue a more eclectic musical voyage through the sub-genres of heavy rock and stoner rock, Valkyrie stay a little truer to their path, delving into six to seven minute jams that stay rooted in classic heavy rock.
The easy sell here would be to say that fans of The Sword will be very satisfied with the music on Shadows – the entire album reminds me of the vibe that comes off The Sword’s albums. Valkyrie rely less on any accoutrements to their music, building their material with two lead guitars and vocalists, bass and drums. Think Deep Purple circa 1972-1975. Think the first two Thin Lizzy albums. Think of Iron Maiden styled riffs that form the heavy guitar-picking backbone of the more traditional cuts off of Killers. Shadows is the sort of album that materializes from a deep rooted love of these bands and their songcraft, by musicians capable of putting forth their own unique takes on the mindset and musicianship of music of that golden era of heavy rock.
Shadows is an album that continuously builds. Each individual song is a marriage of excellent riffs that culminate toward the final track, ‘Carry On’. As the vocal chorus of ‘Carry On’ comes to its apex, and the guitar notes contained within the song can soar no higher, the impulse you have to flip the album over and drop the needle back onto ‘Mountain Stomp’ (the A-Side leading track) and play the entire album again simply can’t be denied.
Shadows is the album you’ll want for your summer. Its 40 minutes of epic rock designed to blast at an unbridled volume from your car stereo. The riffs are epic. It’s a lumbering BEAST of an album. The date on the back of the album says 2015, but don’t let that fool you… Shadows feels like 1974.