Valfreya is a Montreal metal band crossing various styles, and the power and diversity of textures displayed on their album Path to Eternity puts it among the musical discoveries of 2012.
Founded in 2009 by Crook, singer and main songwriter, Valfreya’s was quickly joined by very competent musicians including current members of Bookakee. Starting with band contests such as Metal Academy and Battle of the Bands, they played various cities in Quebec in 2010 and 2011, while promoting a demo. They returned to the studio to record their first full-length, Path to Eternity, followed by a new series of shows in Quebec and Ontario in 2012.
Path to Eternity is 10 songs, including an intro and an outro. It is a complex metal saga, has many musical detours and very elaborated texts. The pace is fast, the diversity of vocals is impressive, keyboards and arrangements have a symphonic quality, the melodies are ubiquitous and the production is highly polished. At first, we are swimming somewhere between Cradle of Filth and Unexpect. It takes a certain number of additional listen to absorb the whole album and reveal an important song structure inspired from folk metal bands such as Arkona or Wintersun.
The production is ambitious and contributes to highlighting the technical performance of the musicians, on the one hand, and making Path to Eternity a professional album, on the other hand. It is signed by Silver Wings Studio of Montreal, whose name is getting more and more circulated for their collaboration with bands such as Blackguard, Sykode, and Karkaos, among others. Path to Eternity’s soundscape is clear and dynamic: we sit behind the drums, the guitars are perfectly paneled on each side, and the various vocals are in our face. As for the bass, it is not positioned beneath our feet or at the center of a 3D ”sphere” of sound, but rather placed somewhere in our back, thus offering more room for keyboards to complete the 360 degrees soundscape.
Now for the cheese… If I had not looked at the label, I would never have guessed that the band defines itself as a viking metal band, possibly because Valfreya’s sound is miles away from the sound of cult bands such as Unleashed, Enslaved, or Amon Amarth. As mentioned earlier, the role of the lyrics is very important on this album, and Valfreya is inspired by Norse mythology. But the real viking worship is displayed in its brand, largely focused on the characters played by the band. The album cover also seems straight out of a Dungeons and Dragons convention.
In résumé, despite the impression that Valfreya puts a lot of effort to take its place on the Quebec and Canadian metal scene, its album Path to Eternity will no doubt appeal to many fans of technical, progressive and metal of all kinds – as well as fans of role playing games.
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