There is a ying and yang to the life cycle. There are those moments perpetually caught in the beauty of the world around them…and there are those times when everything is black and filled with hatred, filled with vile scenes of mass destruction, torment, loss. If you happen to be searching for the soundtrack to those desperate times then look no further than the new full-length from California misanthropes Valdur.
Emerging from a hiatus (and a line-up shuffling) with such a tortured slab of ritualistic bombast makes one wonder where and how this band culls together their subject material. The album title alone is a pretty good indicator, as Pathetic Scum is as much an homage to humanity in general as it is a black/death metal album. All the death and destruction, the violence, the twisted religious malevolence, all of it is given here a backdrop of blast beats, tremolo picking and inhuman vocals. Valdur have taken the blackened death metal of previous efforts and somehow managed to not only make it darker, more twisted, but have managed to make it almost more cinematic as well.
The core of what Valdur does so well runs along the often fine line between the worlds of black and death metal. There are tracks like album opener, “Tank Torture” which seethes old-school death metal aesthetics mingled with second wave black metal delivery – from the fiery inferno blasting at the start to various, head-banging tempo changes throughout its wonderful nine minute run that finally culminates in a frost-bitten final two minutes. This has been Valdur’s burnt bread and curdled butter for a long while and they have never disappointed in their ability to take the best of both the death and black metal worlds and merge them so deftly. Yet on Pathetic Scum they are not only able to expound on the technicality of the delivery, but of the atmospherics that blend along with each note as well.
“Blessings of the Goat” is a perfect example of Valdur creating an absolutely unnerving atmosphere while delivering a mammoth-sized gut-punch directly to the soul. It’s a ceremonial evisceration of all that is holy and one cannot help but as if a black mark has been left upon you, the wrath and scourge ofthe Beast himself in a six-minute vomiting of profane black metal. Album closer “Morbid Emanations” is pure malicious atmosphere cut to shreds by wave after wave of ungodly cacophony before returning to an unsettling array of doom-like noise mixed with morbid black metal.
Valdur is a band that has flown a bit under the radar of many a learned metal fan. But the time for this band to be ignored is long over and as we look back on 2015, Pathetic Scum is one album we may be discussing as one of the top extreme metal albums of the year. Pathetic Scum is out now and can be experienced at the Bloody Mountain Records Bandcamp page.