Distributor/label: Pagan Pride Records/Narcoleptica Productions
Released: Nov 2018
Album [URL]: https://open.spotify.com/album/3inb2xvNxXizglnoRM5Rpj?si=Pqit1UbmQF2aLhdosJg1fw
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/ValleCrucisBlackMetal/
Skullcrusher – Guitar/Vocals
Ashriel – Drums
1. March of the Night
2. Burn the Faith
3. Soul Fucker4. Funeral Light
5. Obliteration of the Apprehension of Bygone Times
6. In Nomine Nihil
7. Dissemination of Vexation and Antipathy
8. Iron & Blood
Iron & Blood is Valle Crucis’ first album, a year after their self-titled EP in April of 2017. Since their formation in 2016, they’ve brought a refreshed black metal scene to South Carolina. The duo consisting of vocalist/guitarist Skullcrusher (not the most original but I’ll let that slide) and Ashriel (clearly playing Undertale a lot in his own time) have released an eight-track album with Pagan Pride Records/Narcoleptica Productions.
From my somewhat limited knowledge of the black metal genre (more of a punk gal myself) the album isn’t half bad. I’m impressed that a band of two have the ability to make such an intelligent album. I only really know of three bands who have had a large amount of success as a duo (Royal Blood, White Stripes and The Ting Tings) so it’s definitely a brave move, especially in any subgenre of metal where there’s a mindboggling number of elements.
The album begins with the track ‘March of the Night’ and a droning, ambient sound much to the conventions of black metal which appears to be what the group choose to home in on. The tracks generally stick to being mostly instrumental with the occasional use of violent vocals here and there for emphasis.
‘Burn the Faith’ brings some destructive use of instrumentation, especially from Ashriel, the sheer speed is astounding. This one was possibly my favourite on the album with the smart use of minor chord married into the grooves.
‘Soul Fucker’‘s use of chords brings the sense of dread that the group promises will ‘unleash hell to the masses’. This with the vocals acting as a call to hell, the sense of the all-powerful ego that the group possesses. It is an unusually long track but with the breaks between vocal lines, I guess it makes sense. ‘Funeral Light’ had a slower start with sudden intensity, however the middle of the piece was nothing to brag about. The riff in the last minute was fairly catchy though.
‘Obliteration of the Apprehension of Bygone Times’ had me mentally preparing just looking at the sound waves (RIP headphone users) and ‘In Nomine Nihil’ was the point where the songs started to merge for me with the unpredictability suddenly becoming predictable.
‘Dissemination of Vexation and Antipathy’ was similar although the use of drums definitely intrigued me more having more structure whilst remaining complex. Maybe some higher guitar tones would have made it work better but with only two members it makes sense that the options are a bit limited so the bass-ier sounds are of higher priority because of it.
The final track ‘Iron & Blood’ (giving the album its name) was another favourite with the more treble-y guitar riffs, giving me some nostalgia for the old-school games. I might have to have a look around for the Gameboy console that’s the size of a brick later.