Valdur - Pathetic Scum


by Matt Hensch

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I ignored Valdur for the longest time. I had been under the impression during my youthful frolicking in the fields of United States black metal that Valdur was merely a black metal band that did the usual black metal band stuff-nothing special. This was several years ago, and now I really don't give a hoot about US black metal, but the name of this squad lit up a dim light somewhere in my mind when "Pathetic Scum" popped up. To my surprise, "Pathetic Scum" rolls between the comfy space of death metal and black metal, allowing itself ample time between its two snuggle bugs. Granted, Valdur is far from a warm and affectionate entity if the nihilistic frenzy of "Pathetic Scum" indicates how temperamental the band grows over any little annoyance.

Enough of the cute talk: Valdur is vicious, a blast-happy harbinger of vehemence. I can't compare and contrast other Valdur releases, as expressed above, but this is a mix of black metal and death metal done to the song of half and half. The opening "Tank Torture" makes a case to prove what Valdur has in store right off the bat, hurling up a nine-minute rampage that starts on a full-blooded death metal rotation before moving over to a hearty black metal section. The remaining five tracks do not shift to such a blunt degree, but the tremolo riffs and blast beats take on dual roles regardless. I guess "Pathetic Scum" reminds me of Marduk, Mayhem, maybe a chunk or two of Incantation.

Valdur delivers a nice package of blasphemous havoc cooked up just the way it sounds. Their riffs are enticing, appearing foul and flagrant over blasts which seldom halt the constant blitzkrieg. "Pathetic Scum" has a production that fits its mold; the cavernous, dark rawness that stands opposite of the ultra-polished, digitized theme of the black/death metal herd of today. Surprises are few and far between, though the synth section of "Incantre Pt. 2" fits well into the structure, and the croons reminiscent of Attila Csihar-apparently the work of a guest vocalist?-on "Morbid Emanations" serve to change up the album's standard harsh vocal approach. "Pathetic Scum," judging by its thirty-six minutes of carnage, is satisfactory, the sheer simplicity and monotony of it all notwithstanding.

This segues directly into the only complaint I have: Valdur's style is rooted so firmly in the blast-laden turmoil of black/death metal that the songs begin to blur together. Then again, stuff like this isn't praised for its colorful diversity; the importance of writing compelling riffs and structural themes is the true factor to allow an album like "Pathetic Scum" to flourish, in its own dead and decaying way, of course. I suppose, then, that Valdur's efforts are overall suitable in this regard, as riffing sections and the constant battering ram emit memorable bits of black/death metal warfare the way it's meant to be done. "Pathetic Scum," unlike many records trying to wear their nihilistic, hateful hearts on their sleeves, puts its money where its mouth is.

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Valdur - Pathetic Scum
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