Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Valkaria - Skylines EP (2013)

Australia may be a continent of its own and have a population of over 22 million, but what have the country Down Under contributed to the heavy metal history? Well, some of their biggest names are Parkway Drive, Airbourne and Midnight Oil. Oh, and I almost forgot about AC/DC. But there are new kids on the block, and these kids are called Valkaria. This band has its origins in Melbourne and consists of Tyler Kelley on vocals, Matt Bast and Justin Downs on guitar, Wyatt Wood on drums and Jon Ramos on bass. The band was officially established in early 2012 and one year later, they were done with their debut EP entitled "Skylines".

The band's music style is a little mix of death metal and metalcore, which sounds alright from time to time. You can clearly hear the influences from their fellow countrymen Parkway Drive with the heaviness and the constant use of harsh vocals, but I also find similarities to Texas In July. Unfortunately, I cannot hear the vocals very well. It could possibly be so that SoundCloud makes the songs sound worse than what they really are, but the mixing for this album is not the best. The vocals are weirdly blended into the music and it all ends up in, more or less, a mess. This is a shame, since I can feel that the potential of Valkaria is higher then what "Skylines" makes it justice.

Another thing that could be a flaw because of the production, is the vocals. Tyler Kelley knows how to sing, but I am wondering if his voice is too dark for the band. But as previously stated, the production could have made it worse. The only time where the production is doing the band justice is in the last track, "Solus". Here we have great drumming that enhances the song and gives it a bigger depth, and together with the laid back guitars and a good vocal performance, this song makes a very good ending track.The other track in this EP that should be noted is "IO" that has a very interesting and mesmerizing intro, but it is the rest of the song that shows all the good parts of metalcore. Complex time signatures, slamming drums and no real verse and chorus.

The rest of the songs on "Skylines" ("Sleeper Cell", "Grievance", "Luna" and "Enlighten") are not so special, but they make "Skylines" bearable. The biggest weakness with metalcore is that the music can easily be very confusing with the lack of structure, so to make the songs stand up you have to have something that will make you remember it. I will not say that any of the songs in "Skylines" is catchy, in fact, it takes a couple of listens to really take them into your memory, but it could have been much worse.

Valkaria is indeed an interesting band, but I believe that they may need one more year or two to improve their band chemistry and to find a good balance between the death and core in their music. "Skyline" suffers from poor production and I am not sure if Tyler Kelley's vocals really fit into the music, but there are some parts in this EP that shows the band's potential. So in the end, "Skylines" is a even album that works as a starting point. Let us now hope that these guys keep playing and continue to improve their bond with each other so that they may show the world that Parkway Drive is not the only metalcore band from Down Under that can make it out in the metal world.

Songs worthy of recognition: Solus, IO

Rating: 5/10 Sleeper Cells



No comments:

Post a Comment