The Igneous Race
posted on 11/2007 By:
Someone’s been doing some tidying up over at the Charnel Valley ranch. Not that the band has made any significant changes to their sound, mind you -- it’s still primordial black metal thrown into your face courtesy of two Cro-Magnons -- things have simply become a bit more graceful and significantly tighter since the band’s debut EP, The Dark Archives. However, fret ye not, fans of the archaic style: Charnel Valley is still firmly rooted in the dark ages, especially when compared to other USBM bands currently floating about. The Igneous Race continues the duo’s ambition to smite listeners with raw-as-dog-balls black metal that’s loaded with oodles of nasty riffs, rumbling war-drums, and crude, scraping vocals. And the band still shuns all current USBM trends that involve infusing elements such as melodic solos, sampled atmospherics, post-rock drifts, and dripping psychedelia. Only this time around the starkness is all delivered in a much, much smoother manner.
Actually, “smooth” is the optimal term here, folks. Not only has the fray on the edges of the music been smoothed out a touch, but there’s a newfound smooth HEFTiness crammed into the cavity of these riffs as well. Yep, buttery-smooth, heavy, and soaked in saturated fat (pop this sumbitch in the oven at 325° for 45 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a savory pound cake shaped like a rotting head). Each of the seven tunes represented spotlight surprisingly heavy, very fluid riffs that lend a nearly relaxing air to The Igneous Race. Possibly not the most expected or desired adverb a black metal band would like to see attached to their music -- relaxing -- but it’s honestly not such a bad thing. This has essentially become yet another record I turn to when I want to kick back and take ‘er easy, much like Vulpecula (US), Forest (Rus), or much of Burzum’s catalog. But it still has a fair coating of caustic fuckoffitude that lands it well within the confines of the black metal camp, especially when it’s properly cranked. Think of Blasphemy or Beherit after being crisped with bong resin, if that makes sense.
The Igneous Race is an enjoyable record that properly presents a band unafraid to push forward without compromising root-aesthetics. This is heavy, elemental black metal that’s sans frills, well executed, and certainly worthy of multiple revisits. It probably won’t blow you away or leave you shitting your face off, but it definitely gets the job done.
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