- - - - - -

Valkyre - Our Glorious Demise

Valkyre - CD Review
Our Glorious Demise


CD Info
10 tracks
Valkyrie Rising
English / Latin lyrics


Kinda hard to think of a band playing twice at MFVF without a full release. But that’s the case with Valkyre. Everyone’s pretty much known about them for a number of years, they date back to the 2004 time frame. They emerged from the remains of another solid Northern European band, SENGIR, when guitarist Kris Scheerlinck from that band put together a new group. There were a couple EPs, the last one Consolamentum in 2007. That one was actually released at MFVF and sold out on the spot. But the band sorta bit the dust in 2010 and didn’t emerge again until 2012. At that time, the Belgians hit the concert tour again with another MFVF performance. They then signed with the German label Valkyrie Rising and went to work on the present release. I’m told some of the earlier songs are included here, others are new. But this is solid material, well written, well produced and I have little doubt it will be well received. There’s just too much really good material here.

I talked to several people associated with the band in order to get some information regarding the present release. Kris Scheerlinck, the founder and one of the guitarists, talked about how things evolved: “In 2004 we had a total different line-up. We made two demo's : one in 2005 and one in 2007. After that the band started to deteriorate. People got married, got children, got even more children or high profile jobs and had no time anymore for the band. This resulted in a kind of pause that lasted almost 2 years.” Well, better late than never. The band takes a variety of styles, there’s some of what we would call Gothic Metal, there’s some softer material which, in terms of the lyrics, could be called Soft Gothic Metal. But the sound seems to be driven to some extent by two women. The first is vocalist Claudia Michelutti. Her voice takes a lot of directions, not really operatic, but with some diversion from the more traditional metal sounds that some bands feature. The other one is Nele Colle who is the keyboard player. There’s a lot of sounds on this release beyond the solid metal, I’m assuming Nele provides most of them and she does a fine job, ain’a. Sometimes it’s a piano like keyboard, sometimes it sounds a lot larger. And, since there are a lot of sounds I can’t quite identify, I have to assume they come from her. Beyond that are some solid violin components and some first rate choral components, don’t have much beyond that but they are a substantial part of the release.

The lyrical message is interesting as well, these guys spent some time developing this material. It’s interesting in the sense that the multiple styles seem to take the band in many directions. And the lyrics follow those directions. I want to spend some time with those lyrics. They really go in some dark places, this is some solid Gothic. They’re thought provoking just the way Gothic should be. And interestingly enough, they include both Gothic and some historical reference, sometimes both together. That certainly makes it even more of interest to me.

Well, on to the music. It should be made clear that there is nearly 10 years of development that has gone into this release, some of this material comes from the earlier works. And, in at least one instance, that is a highlight of the material. I guess when you play something for 10 years, you pretty much know people like it, and you can fine tune it to a higher level. However, the first track, Stories, begins the work in fine symphonic Gothic fashion. I have to apologize here for the lack of videos I can link out to. Maybe I can get the band to let me correct that deficiency, this is clearly material that needs to have videos associated with it. But Stories kicks off the release with a track that builds to a killer symphonic metal sound to warm the heart of any Gothic metal fan. The keys introduce the epic, but the metal drives it home. Lyrically we are introduced to that Gothic direction, over a haunting dark musical device:

Stories have been told / Throughout all of mankind’s history
They give us something to hold on to / Passing on the knowledge we had

And when our lives start failing / They will let us flee our own reality

Now here’s where we get into that historical thing. You get more of it with the third selection, A Good Day to Die, which is, IMO, the highlight of the work. Guitarist Scheerlinck commented, “A Good Day To Die is a song of our first demo (still one of my personal favourites). Our two first demo's had a concept : the Cathars. A Good day to Die is about a Cathar who dies, with the Latin lyrics of a Roman Catholic Requiem mass in it.” This one gives us even more Gothic, with that historical thing thrown in. We get killer choral work, symphonics as good as it gets and a sound to take you to the ancient times. For those of you not familiar with the Cathars, they were a people who followed a form of Christianity, a Christian dualist movement that thrived in some areas of Southern Europe a thousand years ago. If you’re familiar with the Dale Brown novel The DeVinci Code, or Holy Blood Holy Grail upon which it is based, you may be familiar with the concept. The movement was largely swept away with the Albigensian Crusade, during the 13th century. A highlight of that genocide was the proclamation of the phrase, “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” by the forces of the Catholic church. It means, “Kill them all, the Lord will recognize His own”. It saw a similar popularity during more recent times, generally in connection with the infamous VietNam war. But here we get a musical interpretation that sure sounds good.

The band does a heavier sound as well. Call of the Valkyrie goes in this direction. You get a solid metal sound here, all the guitars you’ll ever need, a harder vocal from the lovely Claudia, drums pounding like the Apocalypse. I wouldn’t say this is the typical sound you get here but, you get some solid metal to carry you into places many of us have an interest in.

Will You Be There takes us back to the more traditional Gothic sounds this release seems to focus on. More symphonies, a violin to soothe the crush and a vocal that is more in line with what we can expect here. A solid choral contribution during the break takes us back to that more “ancient” theme that seems to crop up with some degree of regularity. And, again IMO, that choral component is a highlight of the release. There are other sounds that seem to capture something in between. Mother is an interesting title, hard to take this to the Gothic, unless your mother was a real witch which does occasionally happen, or so I’m told. But here, the concept moves towards that Gothic direction:

Where tears are flowing / Our destiny awaits
Sweet little children / In your hands lies our fate

We’re not to blame / Yet under false pretenses
We only look to our comfort / But not to consequences

Whispering Thoughts begins with that violin, then transits to the piano and finally to a crushing metal. Guitars and symphonics take over, but the movement between themes seems to describe the work. The metal, however, may be the highlight. Remember who put this band together.

Valkyre is a solid Gothic metal band; this is a solid metal release. We don’t get an operatic vocal, no death metal vocals so it may not hit all the high points with some. But, with what it does it presents as good as it needs to be. You get the music, you get an interesting lyrical component and it takes you to some sounds you don’t always expect. I find very little fault. I suspect you may agree.