Valdur - Divine Cessation
Bloody Mountain Records
Blackened Death Metal
7 songs (40'49")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Alex

I will admit that I did not follow every one of Valdur’s discography steps and, speaking even more specifically, missed the last pair of full-length albums from these Northern California Sierra Mountains foothills’ residents. But talk about transformation from what I do recall – Valdur is definitely not the entity I remember it to be from their split with Lightning Swords of Death or from Raven God Amongst Us. The black metal, atmospheric or of the rawer variety, is pretty much gone, replaced by the deathly war metal on Divine Cessation (and maybe before that?).

The album can be held up as a prime example of what this style of metal needs to sound like. Valdur must have worked a lot on their sound quality, and it shows. Truly three-dimensional, voluminous, Divine Cessation is a rumbling, dark cauldron, its bass levels and drumming totally up in the mix, yet it is crisp, cymbals definitely heard. Not chaotic, but structured with riffs in a direct morbid way, the album just keeps churning on, projecting mostly negative emotions. Sure there are tremolos here and there, but even they can be called anti-Cascadian (given where we are on the geographic map of the US), dense and downtuned, their tone is much more earthquake than atmospheric fuzz.

The shortcoming of Divine Cessation for me comes then in the fact that while I was completely subdued by the sound, I found it samey and mono-directional throughout the album’s 40 minutes. Play the tracks in random order, and I would be hard pressed to say which one is on at the moment. Doomed may be slower and rising, devastatingly short in its despairing intention. Potent Black Orb is a speeding up procession, Seething Digust has snare/tom rolls punctuating its death metal fabric, but only Plague Born of a Dying Star, fastest and blackest of all the titles, slices the ears in a different sort of way. Setting vocals to low lung-deep roars throughout (except a bit higher rasp in Plague Born of a Dying Star), and keeping them monotonously there, doesn’t help to bring variety to Divine Cessation either. Not sure if my research is correct, but it looks like Valdur had a recent change in its vocalist spot too. Spiky solos, flying above the cosmic fray (Seething Disgust), or coming midway through The Tail, then are the only distinguishing song-to-song features, where the main goal is always to sound the horns of war, often in subtle (The Tail), but sometimes not so much, ways (title track).

Whoever the main songwriter for Valdur is (Lord Sxuperion, or is it a collective?), if the main bend was to depict darkness of war or pending apocalypse, the success is obvious. To do so for seven songs straight in a similar fashion made me tune the message out to a degree, thus the album losing the impact towards the end. A profound melody or two to make for a standout moment here and there, or an atmospheric break, would have made Divine Cessation somewhat more memorable and would elevate my score higher.

Killing Songs :
Divine Cessation, Potent Black Orb
Alex quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Valdur that we have reviewed:
Valdur - Raven God Amongst Us reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
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