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Valtari Returns with a Gargantuan Endeavor! - 87%

TheAntagonist, January 28th, 2014

To say I was impressed by Valtari’s 2012 release, Fragments of a Nightmare is an understatement. Sole member Marty Warren, provides a fresh take in a somewhat stagnating melodic death metal genre. Valtari, who hails from Australia— a continent which boasts a formidable array of metal acts such as Destroyer 666, Nocturnal Graves and Woods of Desolation— offered up Hunter’s Pride at the outset of 2014. It is hard to imagine that this album will not shake the foundations yet again.

The melodies flow effortlessly on the opener “Bitterness” as well as a megaton of aggression and vitriol which take you by storm. Interspersed keyboards/synths are abundant and provide a fitting accent to the overall tone of the album, but do not overstay their welcome as evidenced on “Undefeatable”. Marty Warren’s vocals are once again massive and inspired. By the time you hit “Can You Hear Me” the hooks are dug in deep and everything starts to meld; with each arrangement beginning to distinguish itself. Hunter’s Pride is heavily laden in hooks and “In Slides” is no slouch. Simply put, the riff is just crushing and it sustains the song to a well-timed bridge which then proceeds to slay until the end. This is just incredible guitar workmanship.

“With Child’s Smile” and “The Gift” seem to get buried beneath the rubble from the destruction that the other tracks have left in their wake. These are merely minor missteps, but they are just not as strong as the rest. “Shatter the Myth” has a more slowed down, atmospheric feel to break things up. It’s a decent enough track and helps with the pacing, but it also tends to get overshadowed. “Tyrant” is a worthy track with a chorus riff that will be ingrained in your cranium and continue to reverberate even after the album has stopped.

Two tracks that will annihilate your ears are “Enshrined in Ice” and the title track “Hunter’s Pride”. With a track name like “Enshrined in Ice” you have to be expecting a lot. To save the suspense, it definitely does not disappoint. This beast just rips along and pulls no punches and the ending— epic to say the least. The title track “Hunter’s Pride” which also happens to be the final track is a perfect closer. The riff madness continues and contains one of the best riffs. It’s very serpentine and the song just grooves perfectly. Once again, there is great employment of the keys here and many fantastic tempo changes.

Valtari has managed to put together a solid release on Hunter’s Pride. The riffs are more refined and mature; the keys add that extra element and aggression is not spared in the face of melody. There are only minor blemishes here but they cannot tarnish this gargantuan endeavor. This is one disc that is sure to scorch your cd player.

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