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Valet Parn - Riddle Figure - 70%

padshiyangel01, November 17th, 2011

Kicking off to a promising start with their début album Riddle Figure, Greek quintet Valet Parn combine melodic groove rhythms with a slight gothic tinge, topped off with slick production and mixing from Fredrik Nordström and Septicflesh drummer Fotis Benardo. The band’s identity is difficult to place as the album progresses, but it’s an enjoyable ride nonetheless.

After an intro combining orchestral elements with their groove metal sound (and showcasing new drummer Panagouleaus), the band blast through a couple of heavier tracks where Haursen and Emmanuel trade a few melodic lines in the vein of newer Arch Enemy but mostly stick to chug and chord, augmented by Ridis’ bass. The most interesting element by far is vocalist Verandah, who possesses a voice almost akin to Evergrey’s Englund, a powerful mid-range clean voice that at times breaks out into a scream. This voice seems to influence the music, as the album progresses further into the gothic territory, especially on “Neverland” and “Till We Rise”, the latter of which sounds like a goth-W.A.S.P., and sports a strong chorus: “Till we rise on the edge of the world/Holding still the nightmare within”. The lyrics aren’t the most inventive, but the vocal melodies are catchy.

Valet Parn do an interesting job of mixing mosh-pit moments with more accessible features, particularly in “Fear The Bullet” and the intro for “Dark Room Conjuror”. The guitarwork is hit-and-miss; the pinch harmonics and some solos sound a little uninspired, but then a solo like on “Blindfall” or a riff in the title track can grab your attention. The drums also have been given a fair treatment, but the vocals are the standout element, both in placement and quality. Only the spoken word parts suffer slightly, but the cleans themselves holds everything together well.

In conclusion, Valet Parn have left us an accessible yet relatively heavy affair straddling the line between groove and goth. Riddle Figure is certainly unique and catchy, and I encourage you to give it a go with the track posted below, and I know I’m curious how the band will develop in their future material.

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