For some reason I feel compelled to bring up a certain point every chance I get when it comes to Death Metal, and that is simply the fact that Poland and Italy stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world on this front. From Poland you have bands like VADER, DEIVOS, and my absolute favorite in DECAPITATED. Italy has given us DECEPTIONIST, HIDEOUS DIVINITY, and many more. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you all get my point. And that’s not to decry the American bands at all. I just get something so much more visceral and primal from the overseas groups. Well now let’s put one more in the win column for Italy in the form of VALGRIND.
Their new EP Seal of Phobos is out now through Everlasting Spew Records and this has got ME written all over it. It is technical without going all over the place, and it brutalizes where it is supposed to. The way the songs are structured ensures that things never once get boring, and the fact that vocalist/bassist Daniele Lupidi employs a different approach on each of these four new tracks keeps you wondering what’s gonna happen next. Opener “The Endless Circle” will definitely get your attention as Lupidi and guitarists/keyboardists Massimiliano Elia and Umberto Poncina do all sorts of damage, with drummer Gianmarco Agosti swinging the wrecking ball.
“New Born Deceit” made me sit up and take notice right away for how it just fires a barrage at you. Duck all you want, the missiles will find you and destroy you. The most old school sounding track on this thing is without a doubt “Traitors Will Bleed,” and not surprisingly it was my favorite right away. For closer “Ekphora’s Day” the band enlisted Jonny Petterson (WOMBBATH, ASHCLOUD, HENRY KANE) for guest vocals and the axemen do some of their best work on the disc here. Such a sick tune! Bottom line is that VALGRIND have a real winner on their hands with Seal of Phobos, and Death Metal fans the world over will surely love this one as I do.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Traitors Will Bleed”, “Ekphora’s Day”