Let’s cut right to the chase and then come back and fill in some important details.
Today we’re premiering “Divination – Marked By the Unknown“, a tremendously good and abundantly multi-faceted song off the new album by the fascinating Italian death metal band Valgrind. Its introductory phase is mysterious and mesmerizing, with ringing notes rippling across a shimmer of wondrous ambient sounds. That lasts almost long enough to cast a spell — but its entrancing effects are abruptly cut short by a Vesuvius-like eruption.
Without warning the band launch an assault of explosive drumming, fleet-fingered guitar swarming, and raw, furious vocal howling. The effect of this storming fury is exhilarating, as well as obliterating. But, this being Valgrind, they’re not content to simply punch your adrenal glands into hyper-activity.
As the song proceeds, the percussive battering occasionally relents and the band bring in a slithering, serpentine melody as well as bursts of fret-leaping cruelty, beautifully fluid and magical soloing, sinister swarming ravages, flurries of deranged riffing feverishness, and grand majestic chords. And yet, there’s still more, because near the end the turbulence vanishes, and the music becomes panoramic, elegantly heart-breaking, and once again mesmerizing.
We’ve also included streams of two previously released tracks from the album, “Entangled In A World Below” and “The Day“. The former is another fine example of this Italian band’s progressive approach to death metal. They’ve packed the music with a multitude of intricate twists and turns and created a head-spinning as well as a ferocious trip. The guitar soloing is spectacularly unhinged, and the song as a whole seems like an exploration of madness.
On the other hand, the latter track is one the band characterize as “slower and slimier” than the first-released single. It’s a brutish stomp, as well as a frantic, drilling frenzy, atmospherically dark in its combination of cold, remorseless viciousness and distraught fearfulness but also revealing fire-hot ecstasy (the soloing is one again off-the-charts).
And now for the details. If you happen to be discovering Valgrind for the first time (despite how often we’ve written about them over the years), they released four demos and an EP between 1995 and 2002 — and then seemed to go into hibernation until the appearance ten years later of their debut album, Morning Will Come No More. Another four years passed, and then Valgrind’s second album, Speech of the Flame, was released by Lord of the Flies Records. The wonderful 2017 EP Seal of Phobos tided over Valgrind fans until the 2018 appearance of the next album, Blackest Horizon, via Everlasting Spew Records.
And now comes this new full-length, Condemnation, which will be released on July 27th through the tasteful Spanish label Memento Mori, who rightly characterizes the record as “poignant, crushing and classy”. It’s further proof of what the band’s discography has already revealed, i.e., that Valgrind aren’t content to remain stuck in one place. Even after all this time, they continue to evolve, to challenge themselves, and to let their interests and ambitions lead them to create music that’s mentally and emotionally engrossing for listeners — as well as frequently eye-popping in its ferocity.
CREDITS: The new album was mixed by Cristiano Copat at KK Recording Studio, and it was mastered by Damian Herring at Subterranean Watchtower Studios. The cover art was created by the band’s bassist Daniele Lupidi. For pre-order info, keep an eye on the locations linked below.