Sound: Valient Thorr are the walrus battling, balls to the wall pride of North Carolina, bearing beards that could make Zakk Wylde look like Justin Bieber. Their 2008 album "Immortalizer" is 47:50 of relentless, crazed, uncompromising metal; the likes of which much of UG has never heard, apparently. The catchy, powerful, thrash inspired riffs; the gut-busting, hammering drum lines; and the frenzied, engaging vocals by Valient Himself are enough to get even the prissiest and uptight of listeners headbanging. Valient Thorr is undeniably heavy metal; an amalgamation of Maiden, Priest, and Metallica, mixed with an appropriate classic punk vibe, as seen on tracks like "Tomorrow Police". They are an enthralling group, with impeccable presence; "Immortalizer" is a must have album for any Thorrior, or even metalhead. Although the album isn't exactly innovative, and may not offer anything overly "new" for the metal aficionados of Ultimate-Guitar, it is fun, a dynamic which has been missing from most heavy styles of music in recent years. // 9
Lyrics: "Immortalizer"'s tracks are extremely diverse in theme, exploring material from the life of the travelling nomad on "Nomadic Sacrifice" and professional wrestling on "No Holds Barred" to skirmishes with marine mammals on "Tackle The Walrus". Even with these varying and contrasting themes, the 14 tracks fit seamlessly within the album, without any awkward filler track which listeners are accustomed to hearing on other records. The 4th track on the album, "Tomorrow Police", is a hard-rocking, punk inspired tune showcasing some of the bands more anti-establishment style lyrics; it's metal with a theme straight from a Dead Kennedys album:
"First they frisk ya, they read yer rights
But you ain't got none, this ain't your night.
Now there's a curfew, nobody's on the street.
And now yer busted and yer buddies packin' heat.
In the old days, you'd both have probably fried,
Now yer wishin' you could find a place to hide.
Bad cops don't give a shit 'bout rules and regulations
Don't expect an easy ride down to the local station.
Don't try to bribe them, 'cause they don't play.
They're gonna take from you
whatever you got anyway."
The punk theme fits in adequately with the metal musicianship, although it is not my favourite song on "Immortalizer" it is by no means a weak track. Track 5 of 14 is "Parable Of Daedalus" which bears a significant resemblance to Iron Maiden, in particular to "Flight Of Icarus" with lyrics like:
"He said my son, "Don't fly too low 'cause you might drown"
"But don't you fly too high 'cause it's a long way down"
When they spread their wings he knew that he was finally free,
But he watched as his son flew high, and dropped into the sea."
"You better live your life, this ain't no practice round,
don't stumble off the path, 'cause it's a long way down."
Valient Himself's soaring vocals are exceptional on this album, he may not be the best pure singer in the genre, but his energy is unmatched in my opinion. His style is my particular favourite for metal, certainly not soft vocals, but not overly deep and dark vocals you would find among most black and death metal bands. It could be argued that his vocal stylings are more of what you may find in the genres of punk or even hard rock, but they fit perfectly over Eidan and Sadat Thorr's elaborate riffs and particularly tasty licks. Strictly on energy alone, I'd rate Valient Himself's vocals a 9, the man is a raging powerhouse of heavy metal intensity, couple that with fun, yet equally fierce lyrics, and you've got yourself 2 key ingredients in a great heavy metal concoction. // 9
Overall Impression: For me, "Immortalizer" was an instant favourite from the moment I began listening to it. It immediately surpassed previous VT albums in my collection, "Total Universe Man" and "Legend Of The World", which are still both extremely strong in my opinion, and even held its ground against the successful 2010 VT release: "Stranger". It's one of very few albums in my collection that I feel I could listen to daily. Although it's not one of the more aggressive metal records, "Immortalizer" is a personal favourite of mine to workout to, given its electrifying, high octane tunes, and I highly recommend it to any looking for a new workout playlist. As I said previously, if you take "Kill 'Em All", subtract the aggression and add some professional wrestling and walruses, you will get Valient Thorr's "Immortalizer", and that's pretty damn high praise in the genre of metal. One of the most impressive tunes on the album is "Nomadic Sacrifice", the drum intro is epic, with Lucian Thorr showcasing his chops throughout the song, it's easily one of the best from the group and is a staple in my playlists. "Tackle The Walrus" and "Steeplechase" are also exceedingly enjoyable songs for me, not only because of the ridiculous rocking, but the wildly entertaining lyrics. I won't say the album is perfect, very few pieces of music could garner such a response, however I don't believe there is anything I could say I hate about it. Although I don't absolutely love all the songs, I do love the album as a whole. If my hard copy were stolen or lost, I would definitely purchase a new one, no question. // 9