The Igneous Race
Paragon Records 2007
Don't let the fact that members of Charnel Valley are staff writers for Metal Maniacs affect your opinion about this band one way or the other. Charnel Valley should be judged on the basis of their musical quality and that's it. And in that respect Charnel Valley is good at what they do which is churn out honest and straightforward black metal with memorable riffs and harsh vocals. There is nothing too complicated or pretentious about their approach on the Igneous Race. The album doesn't really mimic any one scene too much though there is a slight hint of Nordic riffing on the opening song Blackfist though it doesn't really dominate the song. Gray Twilight: A Traitor's Redemption is a mid-tempo track with a Burzum-esque feeling too it with a sense of bereavement woven into its fabric. That is before it unleashes its full fury with a black as night speedy riff which then gives way to more depth and feelings of sorrow. The Igneous manages to achieve a cohesion of vision throughout its entirety despite have variety from song to song. The album paints a monochromatic vision of darkness and despair and it is apparent that the artists themselves have put a lot of emphasis on contemplating the visual imagery their music will conjure. The guitars are thick and have a low bottom to them that adds to the atmosphere of the album. Charnel Valley have managed to release an album that is catchy while at the same time avoiding any sort of gimmicks and hooks utilized by more trend minded individuals to achieve that sort of end solution. If you like your black metal simple and primitive but with an underlying sense of artistic vision then Charnel Valley is certainly for you. They will carry not only our bodies but also our minds to the horizon.