Published on Saturday, 09 June 2012 15:25
Album title: Here The Day Comes
Release date: 16 April 2012
Label: Bakerteam/Scarlet Records
Italy has become in the last few years one of the most significant representatives for melancholic gothic doom and Valkiria with their fifth album shows that they are on the top of the list among the bands performing this style. Their leader Valkus Valkiria is now accompanied by Mike on guitar and special guest Giuseppe Orlando from almost forgotten and silent since 2007 Novembre on drums who was also responsible for the recording of this album. Another note goes to the nowadays indispensable Jens Bogren (Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Opeth,...) who mastered the sounds. Here The Day Comes is the first record from Valkiria which is released by a proper record label (Bakerteam/Scarlet records), as the first four albums were all self-released. I'm not really familiar with their first two albums, but found a lot of interesting moments in their previous two: Of Dreams And Pain (2007) and Upon This Earth (2009). Though very different from each other, there is a link that connects all of those works in marvelous melancholic melodies often deeply anchored in doom metal. Of Dreams And Pain saw Valkiria in doom/death waters, while Upon This Earth is kind of gothic doom in the purest mediterranean form, especially because of the vocal performance and Here The Day Comes tends more towards black/doom metal approach, again, only because of vocal style. At first instance the one could think that Valkiria can't find it's own identity with such variations in their sound from album to album, but once you accept the fact that this is a natural progress and that each album is one step higher in quality than the previous one this fact doesn't really matter. On Here The Day Comes Valkiria incorporates all the qualities from the past and renders them new clothes, this time also with top notch production. After a quick look at the beautiful cover artwork with the early morning sunbeam that brightens the hill, let's dive into this adventurous release.
Here The Day Comes is a well deliberated concept; kind of metaphore regarding the whole harsh existence; expressed through different parts of the day: "Dawn", "Sunrise", "Morning", "Afternoon", "Sunset", "Evening" and "Night". Although this idea works pretty original, the music is not as such, but I don't find any problems because of this. Let me explain... Valkiria drives carefully in the early/mid 90's kind of doom sounds and succeeds to bring in front the very essence of the genre with extraordinary musical skills from each member. The guitar work is simply breathtaking, something like a mix between Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) and Anders Nyström (Katatonia) with plenty of soloing, beautiful passages, acoustic interludes and nice, always melodic rhytmic sections. Giuseppe Orlando has proved himself to be an amazing drummer before in Novembre and he's showing all his capabilities also in this work, though in different form and in much slower tempos with powerful beats, but those double bass drum insertions lift everything one level up on many occasions. The black metal kind of vocals are something that I wasn't really impressed with by the first two or three listens, because I expected some more clean singing parts like on the previous album which I adored, but it has grown on me and later on I couldn't imagine anything else to render this dreary atmospheres so very alive and intense like they are. Yes, here and there are some spoken words ("Dawn", "Sunset", "Evening", "Night") which adds a lot of atmosphere and some kind of dynamics to the overall ambiance. A little, but very useful kind of ambiental orchestral synths, mostly at the end of the songs, together with occasional piano touches and in general eerie atmosphere creates the link with gothic music. There is no doubt that the listener will find strong connections with Anathema from The Silent Enigma in the opener "Dawn", or most evident Katatonia Brave Murder Day/Sounds Of Decay in "Sunrise", "Morning", "Evening"... and Paradise Lost Gothic in uplifting "Afternoon", plus some Draconian, Agalloch or even early Tiamat in some song structures. The pace is mainly slow with few mid tempos thrown here and there. Although all those references Valkiria created an outstanding album which works like one song divided into seven parts and brings to the fans of the genre something that everyone should wish to grab and consume. Not an easy album, it certainly needs a lot of listens to be fully accepted, but believe me, it's worth.
I think that the time has come for Valkiria to be recognized as one of the most prominent representatives in doom/black/gothic fields. Such an outstanding musicianship cannot be missed and beside The Foreshadowing they should take the leading role in Italian dark music spectrum. It would really be a disgrace to miss this dark gem.
Review written by: T.V.