Staff Rating

4.00/5

User Rating

4/5

Valkyrja - Contamination

Matti Frost   (168 reviews)

Posted: 03/30/2010 | Comments: 6 | Rate:

Sweden's Valkyrja return to absolutely decimate everything in their path with their Metal Blade debut Contamination. Their previous album, The Invocation of Demise, was re-issued by metal Blade last year. Contamination is the first I've heard from this band, and I have to say, I am floored, Absolutely floored by their straight-forward, epic, and occasionally progressive take on black metal.

The first thing I have to address right out of the box is the production. I know a lot of black metal bands tend to go low-fi on their recordings for various reasons- because it's KVLT, because they don't have access to a proper recording studio, or in some cases, because they're hiding crappy songwriting under terrible production. Contamination might irritate TRVE black metal aficionados because the production is just so damned good. You can hear everything. Even the bass. This, I think, is the key to this whole album. The songs are written well, but there's so much going on, and the fact that you can hear all of it is a milestone of an accomplishment for a black metal release.

Of course, when you write such deep songs rife with subtlety and musical intrigue, you want to have excellent production. The recording quality is only the polish. Had this been recorded on a busted tape deck (look it up, time travelers) it still would be a great album, provided they could capture the ferocious anger and power contained within these songs. I've seldom heard black metal sound so... passionate. I admit my exposure to the genre is somewhat limited but outside of the atmospheric/forest metal vibe, I've rarely felt any real emotion in it outside of the usual pessimistic despair. Contamination carries all of that but gives it a real shot of intensity and unrest.

It's my feeling that Contamination stays relatively close to the traditional formula of black metal- you won't hear any folk instruments or overbearing keyboards on this, and it's still abraisive to the ears of the uninitiated even with the great production. There are times when it gets epic and soaring, or just a bit technical, but like Icarus, it comes crashing down soon enough. Fast and thrashy, laden with blast beats, with slow passages that are crushing and soaked in sorrow, I can't stress enough how many moods this album puts the listener through. This is one of the best metal albums of 2010 thus far.

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Comments
The Winter's Wrath
7,887 Posts
41/M/PA
I actually gave this 4.9 out of 5, but it seems the decimal system is not functioning yet. So, 4.9. Get this now.
Nightmare Feddy
48,981 Posts
31/M/PA
I have yet to listen to this and I really liked the other album.

Will finally burn to a disc tonight.
The Winter's Wrath
7,887 Posts
41/M/PA
I really want to hear their old album now. This one is just so good.
Nightmare Feddy
48,981 Posts
31/M/PA
I'll get it to you.
The Winter's Wrath
7,887 Posts
41/M/PA
Cool.
Vastness&Sorrow
300 Posts
27/M/MD
Good review, good album.

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