Valhom – Desolation

valhom_052206_desolationOn first listen, Chicago’s own Valhom puts me in mind musically and vocally of Fog, but a more interesting use of keyboards and less applications of speed sets them apart from being a direct clone. In fact, “Desolation” is quite an impressive album that does bare some Norwegian qualities even though the production lacks an overall depth/punch to go that extra step in really driving this well-executed black metal home. Musically, the guitar work is infinitely melodic, yet digs its teeth in with grating moments of dissonance and brutality to give their sound a much-needed shot of intensity. The vocals are quite ugly and twist into ferocious moments of ungodliness as Lord Temptation spews forth his contempt for the light, effortlessly sculpting his pipes into a diverse weapon to keep this music sounding evenly paced. Excellent use of tempo/dynamics mixed with the equally challenging riff ideas and the occasional vocal sample keeps “Desolation” surprising to the ear and full of interesting turns that begs for repeated listens. The USBM scene continues to grow and improve and Valhom have done their part in seeing that the music they create is full of the quality that we’ve all come to expect from this continent. -Marty

~ by martyworm on January 3, 2009.

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