Ravenous Cadaver Records

Taking a peek into Scotland’s steel bag of black metal goodies, the intensely raw and glorious sounds of Ainshval, the fuzzy swiftness of Necronoclast and the satanic regurgitations of Orthodox Divinity corrupt my thinking. I also dig up some more obscurity from the withered compartments of my brain reserved solely for execrable waves of black metal with Forest of Castles and Málice,whose lo-fi supremacy coughs up enough soot and dust to cover the floors of their peasant-styled recording basements. Now, another name and blast of noise rips its way into my gray matter; Valrog. The Glasgow native four-piece invites more to taste of Scottish black metal with their debut self-titled, “Valrog.”

Charting off into Valrogian terror-tories, the second slice of “Valrog,”, “Sabbat” has a very European flair to the opening, concocting groovy guitars and steady drumming to back up its infernal witchery. It then falls off into black metal drudgery, a bit disappointing as the beginning led me to believe I had fed some doom/black groove bout of mischief o my computer. Yet don’t misunderstand, Valrog’s music was far from provoking me to make that “mouth full of shit” face or should I say, “shit so far down my ears I could taste it face.” Well, they do put a banner of “down-tempo/black metal” on their Myspace page and from what I can see, the down-tempo half comes from the slow-moving, almost hindered pace, like the sound is travelling against a harsh winds.

Tracks with names like “The Following of the Left Hand Path” and “The Crushing of the Deity” are so un-mistakenly black metal, you have to shed a tear of pride that bands haven’t stopped dipping into that terribly predicable, but goddamned lovable pot of glaring Satanism and anti-Christianity.
The vocals are of a non-piercing scream and the music is muted with a strong bass backbone. “Valrog” is of another shade of black when put alongside most of the more standardized groups. It’s kind of like when you wear a black shirt and black pants and you notice your band-tee is darker than your jeans. There is some element thrown into the mix that sets these Scots apart, that element being their drawled approach to resonance when most bands want to go faster and faster. I guess you could say they’re “sloe” metal and not “black” metal? And yes, I did mean “sloe” as in, bluish black, though “slow” is apt as well.