Rating:
6.4
Valtari - Hunter's Pride
20 January 2014


01. Bitterness
02. Undefeatable
03. Can You Hear Me?
04. Shatter The Myth
05. In Slides
06. With A Childs Smile
07. Enshrined In Ice
08. Tyrant
09. The Gift
10. Hunter's Pride


A major challenge for any aspiring melodic death metal band nowadays is to write and record an original piece, something which breaks the norm and cuts through the mass of acts all vying to be deemed noteworthy. What's even more challenging is attempting to do this on your own.

The man behind Australia's Valtari, Marty Warren, has no shortage of ideas when it comes to sprucing up the melodic leads which drive the tunes of his second album Hunter's Pride along their course. However, these leads are generally the only source of the album's dynamism, the pacing and rhythms operating at much the same levels throughout the duration of the recording. It's obvious that Marty is seeking to place as much emphasis as possible upon the well written lead guitar melodies he's developed here, which is, after-all, what any sensible melodic band would have as a primary concern. Yet, greater attention is needed in the supportive elements of his music, in order for the riffs to really leave their mark on the listener.

That said, when considered and listened to, these tracks are well composed, clear, crisp and effectively memorable. All the other instrumentation doesn't quite manage to keep up with their display of creativity, and generally serve only as bolstering and support, rather than demonstrating as much virtuosity in their own right. The bass work is often commendable in its provision of foundation for the melodic licks, but as previously stated its role in the song structures are generally supportive only. It seems as if Marty has put much of his creative thought processes into the lead guitar, which is only logical considering the style of metal he's playing. But closer attention to the other instruments would significantly boost the quality of song writing here.

In terms of style the kind of melodic black influence at work on Hunter's Pride is such that, if divided from this particular mix, actually wouldn't sound out of place in folk metal environments. In this sense he manages to combine the two melodic genres well within the same album, which gives it something of its own character and style. "The Gift" is a neat little package, which presents this aspect most ably and tracks like "Tyrant" are well conceived as they easily blend and shift between the black to the death melodic components, demonstrating Valtari's understanding of combining the elements he's working with as well as transition. Vocally Valtari also carries this death and black blend well, but the growls are typically embedded behind the instruments and aren't as audible and don't establish much of a presence within the tunes.

A major influence Marty identifies, and was acknowledged in Milena's review for the debut, is in Insomnium. While Valtari's style differs considerably, given the identifiable trace of additional influences such as Be'Lakor, the tracks here are written in an Insomnium, or perhaps Dark Tranquillity or early to modern In Flames, vein. One thing which is lacking in relation to these comparisons is an established atmospheric touch to the melodies, which some ambient crafting keyboard use would no doubt bring to the recording.

While not definitively breaking the mould with this new effort, Valtari demonstrates considerable originality. The ambitions of this one man represents a fresh face to melodic death and an honestly amazing talent in his filling multiple roles to create this competent collection of melodies.

You can check out Marty's work on Bandcamp

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 6


Band profile: Valtari
Album: Hunter's Pride


 



Written on 29.01.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Neroese - 29.01.2014 at 20:28  
Valtari...still prefere Waltari.
theFIST - 30.01.2014 at 03:42  
Written by Guest on 29.01.2014 at 20:28

Valtari...still prefere Waltari.

agreed, the title got my hopes up shortly before reading more carefully
pipis - 07.02.2014 at 16:37  
Very nice:banger2:

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