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Vhaldemar's best yet. - 75%

AnalogKid, April 7th, 2011

I was a little bit thrown off by this album, since it appears to be the more polished and official release of the self-titled album that was leaked last year (the tracklisting is exactly the same). I'm pleased to say that this is the real deal, and the sound quality is improved. So get a copy of Metal of the World, delete the old leaked version, and join me in a listen through what this interesting Spanish band is up to these days.

Since I discovered I Made My Own Hell a few years back, I've listened to Vhaldemar sparingly. They've never been the sort of band that one can handle at all times, given their rather aggressive style and somewhat abrasive clean vocals. However, when the gritty, powerful, and viciously melodic is what you're craving, Vhaldemar remains a satisfying and capable contender. If you've not heard the band before, I would compare their style somewhat to that of Bloden Wedd (though I wonder if that band may be even more obscure), though tending more towards a moderate tempo and without quite so much cheese.

Vocalist Carlos Escudero is the largest distinctive element of Vhaldemar's work, and he's a very distinguishable singer, to be sure. His voice, which comes across as something of a primal roar or shriek, can be very off-putting to first time listeners used to smoother power metal offerings. For a good long while I couldn't get past this, but once I did I discovered a very capable band delivering some high quality heavy/power metal and hooking the listener into a worthwhile listening experience.

Metal of the World is loud, somewhat explosive, and unabashedly rooted in the strong heavy metal mold of bands like Manowar and Helloween, mixing their respective schools into a lucid concoction. "Light & Darkness", "Saints of Hell", and "Dusty Road" are good examples of some of the band's best work in combining melody and aggression. The feel of the album will be familiar to those who are acquainted with the band's older work, while having clearly matured a bit and exceeded their past capacity for songwriting.

The guitar work on Metal of the World is fun and exciting, with few exceptions. The band is a bit one-faceted, with relatively little room being left for the drummer and bassist to spit out aught but decent supporting work. However, this does little to diminish the overall appeal of the album to those who enjoy this style of music, since the group ambitiously utilizes their vocalist and guitarists. For some others, this will seem limited, uncreative, and unbalanced. While I remain largely of the former mentality, I admittedly think that Vhaldemar could use a bit of spice to enhance their natural flavor.

A very good album with some extremely memorable guitar riffs and melody lines, I recommend Metal of the World to fans of power metal and traditional heavy metal. In addition, Vhaldemar may well be a decent gateway band for those fans of more extreme metal looking for something not-so-fruity and with an element of say, belligerence. Quite probably the band's best effort yet.

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