|CD REVIEW Valfreya|
Valfreya were formed in early 2009 in Montreal, Canada. In mean time they did share stage with bands like Arkona, Tyr, Korpiklaani or Moonsorrow, which might give you an idea of their musical direction, not? They released an EP in 2010 (but I guess it is available in North America only) and at the end of 2011, the sextet recorded their self-produced debut full length, which lasts for fifty minutes, at Silver Wings Studios.
The album opens with an orchestral/ epic intro, creating an atmosphere of heroism and mythology, and it does set the tone very decently for the rest of the album. Deity’s Grace (taken from the First Chronicles EP) marks the core of the band’s existence: a mystic symbiosis of epic Folk/ Viking Metal and symphonic Gothic Metal, including the links with ethnic tradition (think: flutes, harmonium, violin etc.), Nordic-styled Black Metal and technical Epic/ Heavy Metal. Crook’s vocals are very remarkable. She uses a wide range on vocal accords: operatic, fairy-like, whispering, up to intensively black-screamo. The main tempo is rather fast (especially the rhythm section comes with an energetic drive), with inclusion of melodic technics (especially when it comes to the lead guitars – sometimes unique tremolo-oriented, then again a Fingerspitzen-performance), yet the keyboard lines are of huge importance as well: sometimes flavouring in a mostly modest way, then again taking a leading role. Don’t ignore the variation! Sometimes focused on obscure aggression, then primal Folk-oriented simplicity (even including so-called Humppa-melodies), bombastic-operatic Goth-grotesquery, or modern, quasi Power-injected Fantasy-Epic…
In an open-minded way, one might consider Valfreya’s music as a modern mixture of, let’s say, Asmegin, Opera IX, Moonsorrow, Midnattsol, Cradle Of Filth, Finntroll and Arkona. So if you’re a fan of these bands, you will for sure appreciate this stuff.