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It was pleasant to hear classic metal from Pittsburgh, especially amidst all the current grind and half assed death erupting from our struggling scene. Unfortunately, our scene reflects the entire nation's metal dissolution. But, I'm just hear to tell you about Valhalla. So....
Onto the music, Vahalla's self titled album introduces us with Break Of Darkness, which is just a short clip of some sort of extraterrestial sound effects. Nothing much here, just an intro. Things pick up with Looking For The Light. It has a vintage metal feel to it, classic metal in the vein of bands that are few and far between these days. Somewhat melodic, but not quite Iron Maiden caliber, Valhalla can be compaired to classic metal acts like Railway, Prophacy, Wild Dogs, etc.(Maybe a little softer in the sense they play more power type ballads). Looking For The Light isn't terrifically heavy or fast, but it still delivers masterly riffs and decent vocals.
Nightstalker picks the album up a beat, with faster riffs, and some powerful solos. Hornyak dishes out some great guitarwork, that any classic metal fan is sure to appreciate. The songs are great, especially compared to the shit out nowadays. Yet, back in the 80s, with so much competition, Vahlalla still didn't quite have what it took to reach that next step towards metal fame. They just weren't quite fast or heavy enough to appeal to the overwhelming crowd. And they most definitely didnt have the pop metal appeal of bands like Whitesnake. Yes, they're better, more talented, and apparently more obscure.
The self-titled song, Vahlalla is a masterpiece in itself. With instrumental and profound solos two and a half minutes in, the band shows off their ingenuity. Although it's more classic metal, you will get that power metal vibe as so many eighties bands distribute with their high vocals and "powerful" guitar work. The triumphant cover should give clues to the power metal themes. Yet, in it's entirety Valhalla fits within the pure Heavy Metal genre.
Ship Of Dreams is a ballad, not my cup of tea. But it's salvaged 2:30 into the song with the appearance of dark sounding organs and a decent chorus. If you're in the mood to bang your head I wouldn't recommend this track. Very soft, but musically ingenious nonetheless. I was hoping the last track would bring a heavier piece. But the title, In Her Eyes, is most obviously not a killer. Heavier than the last, it's still a slower power oriented song. Great musicianship, but no headbanger. Sorry fellow thrash fans, vary your tastes a bit.
Anyway, all in all the album is damn good. As far as I know they never released another LP, and it's too bad, as they were promising. They moved to Phoenix, the band folded and vocalist David Fefolt ended up in some cheesy LA based hair metal band. Except for their best of, that was it from Valhalla.