Noise Records, Spinefarm Records (2010)
January 27th, 2003
Release length: 51:21
Valley Of The Damned is a furious Power Metal ride chock full of catchy, fast paced music that can only be described as epic. The only track on here that doesn’t seem to come at you in a blistering pace is the track “Starfire”, which is a slow ballad track that shows off the band’s playing ability well outside of speedy clusters of riffs that often sound random and just thrown together. The shocking thing about the latter statement, however, is that it all works out well for the group. Sons like “Valley of the Damned”, as well as “Disciples of Babylon” are aimply infectious, as are plenty of others.
There are some issues about Valley Of The Damned though. Much of the music here moves fast, but for some, that’s about all it’s good for. “Black Winter Night” is a prime example. It has the speed, but that alone doesn’t have much of a bite. Another issue lies within the guitar solos. Some of them, while working with the music more times then not, will often just sound like a cluster of random notes concocted while in the studio. If the guitarist performing it can honestly pull these off in life, more power to him, but some of them even just sound inhuman and impossible. Another note that many who play video games will note and perhaps take offense to would be the blatent plagiarism of the Arcade and Nintendo Entertainment System title Double Dragon during the chorus of “Black Fire”.
The 2010 reissue comes with a bonus DVD which was not supplied for review by Spinefarm Records. Sorry, guys and gals. But, the audio on this effort is top notch. If you are a fan of the album, then this is definately a copy you must have. Remixed and remastered from the original copies, much of the hollow 80’s-esque sound quality of the original pressing is gone, giving a clearer sound to the album that does help greatly. It also includes the Japanese bonus track “Where Dragons Rule”, which the die-hard fans have probably already acquired somewhere down the road. All of this does make for a very tempting reissue that is worth checking out.
While it sometimes has material that sounds like absolute overkill, the debut Dragonforce album Valley Of The Damned is an intense epic Power Metal release that falls short of being a refreshing masterpiece. Some of the material on here will grow stale over time, but how quick will depend on the listener and their views on the band’s approach to this style. Some of the tracks on here are impressive and have a real high impact on the listener, but others just seem to be rehashed from other tracks and can get boring pretty fast.
01. Invocation of the Apocalyptic Evil – 0:13
02. Valley of the Damned – 7:11
03. Black Fire – 5:46
04. Black Winter Night – 6:19
05. Starfire – 5:44
06. Disciples of Babylon – 7:06
07. Revelations – 6:57
08. Evening Star – 6:39
09. Heart of a Dragon – 5:29
10. Where Dragons Rule (Bonus Track) – 5:49
|Initial Pressing Score: 6/10
2010 Reissue Score: 7/10