Valkyrja - The Antagonists Fire
World Terror Committee
Black Metal
7 songs (50'33")
Release year: 2013
Official Myspace, World Terror Committee
Reviewed by Alex

After reviewing Valkyrja’s debut The Invocation of Demise I have to admit I missed their momentary flash of getting closer to mainstream by issuing the follow-up Contamination on Metal Blade. With The Antagonist’s Fire things get back to “normal”, however, with Valkyrja crawling back into the underground releasing the album through the much less known World Terror Committee. The music is also where I remember I left listening to Valkyrja last time. Intense, hellish, but pretty much a standard issue Swedish ass-kicking Norsecore.

It is very much into the lines drawn up by Marduk and Dark Funeral that Valkyrja launches after some weighty grand opening of Betrayal Incarnate. Huge drums roll and blast on and off, A.L.’s throat is decidedly on fire, the wall of sound is immense, with solos escaping this churning cauldron as accidental licks rising from the fire pit. As they have been in the past, Valkyrja is not all speed on Betrayal Incarnate, the song is multipart, with the band finding clever ways to incorporate melody. The cuts on The Antagonist’s Fire a little on the long side, being multipart is almost a necessity for the band, not to box yourself into the corner and stagnate, but provide welcome moments of respite and distraction amidst persistent hammering. In that sense, Madness Redeemer and Yearn to Burn caught my attention the most. The former uncovers absolutely delectable melodic slowdowns amidst steady surrounding self-immolation. The notes of “consuming madness” out of the A.L.’s mouth are convincing, his voice finding the way to writhe and tremble. Around 5 min in Madness Redeemer reaches a pinnacle followed by inescapable double bass eventual crash. Yearn to Burn also has an expansive melodic moment around 2:45, and alternates mad blasting dashes with more controlled double bass rolls. The final stomp around 5 min uncorks the biggest can of whoop-ass there could be, and you find yourself practically bathing in that rolling melody.

It is too unfortunate then, for me it was anyway, that in many more places on the album Valkyrja is a lot more focused on punishment than on letting their multifacetedness take hold. Season of Rot and Treading the Path of the Predator make sure you won’t forget the band’s shades of corpse paint and where they came from, and probably where they are going. Although an Amon Amarth-like triumphant warrior march on Treading the Path of the Predator, as well as the closing groove, are nice, those with a deep dislike of Swedish brand of Norsecore black metal need to avoid The Antagonist’s Fire.

My trouble with the album, while I admire the steadfastness and determination of the band, and know what I need to expect, I find Valkyrja spending their arsenal of bullets way too soon. They are the band for me which holds little mystery. What you see is what you get, which is fair, but repeated listens tend to uncover little you haven’t heard on the first spin through. If you liked God Seed, you probably will like this release as well.

Killing Songs :
Betrayal Incarnate, Madness Redeemer, Yearn to Burn
Alex quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Valkyrja that we have reviewed:
Valkyrja - Contamination reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Valkyrja - The Invocation of Demise reviewed by Alex and quoted 70 / 100
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