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Album Review by Iron Mathew
Emerald Rage are a heavy metal band from the USA formed in 2016, releasing their debut album ‘High King’ in 2021, and sophomore album ‘Valkyrie’ in 2023.
Released via Stormspell Records, the bands new album features ten songs over an incredibly long run time of fifty four minutes – Emerald Rage taking the listener on a grand adventure through Nordic folklore sagas and Middle Earth lore, attracting fans of bands such as The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Skyclad and Dark Forest. The adventure begins with the eight and a half minute long opening song ‘Prince Of The Moon’ – and in fact the first two songs on offer cover fifteen minutes, an incredible thirty six percent of the (albums) total run time! Anyway, back to ‘Prince Of The Moon’, and after a two minute crescendo building passage, the song explodes into life with a thrash metal tinged fury! Yes, that’s right – a thrash metal fury! Emerald Rage blend strains of Metallica and Slayer into their heavy metal roots, ‘Prince Of The Moon’ a mood changing, tempo changing, pace changing onslaught that’s gonna attract a very wide array of listeners.
The albums opening gambit of melding thrash with traditional metal was an eye opener, a sit up and take notice moment of incredible intensity, the band storming on at pace with the high velocity ‘Archangels’. Featuring an aggression level not normally associated with the melodious style of heavy metal, Emerald Rage emphatically maintain the albums thrashy beginnings, banging heads hard as it bludgeons the airways with phenomenal ferocity. What a start – a meld of traditional metal and thrash, is there any more I could have asked for? Well yes, but that’s for another day – ’cause right now, ‘Valkyrie’ storms on with the heavy hitting ‘Nocturnal Knight’ – featuring a harsher, more brash feel than either of the two previous songs. And after just three songs, Emerald Rage have blown a hole right through my expectations – the band a thundering tsunami of thrash come traditional heavy metal. A tsunami that just gets stronger – and faster – with the blistering ‘Desolation’. The hardest and fiercest of all songs heard so far, ‘Desolation’ is gonna destroy every town and city it passes through to leave only (yes you’ve guessed it) desolation in its wake! Is my style of writing that predictable? I guess so!
And for the first time since the album began, scorching pace is sidelined in favour of the mighty foot stomping anthemic nature of heavy metal, the title song ‘Valkyrie’ shuddering the ground as it purposefully strides across the land. Yet the incredible intensity level remains unbroken despite the dramatic down turn in speed – speed that returns with added bite, as ‘Valkyrie’ (the song) cruises to a conclusion. And remaining in top gear, ‘Dragon Blood’ romps on with all the pace and purpose of classic “foot on the monitor” heavy metal, blending touches of thrash and power metal into its feisty gallop. The American outfit from Ohio are red hot, blazing a fiery trail across the land, ‘Saints & Heretics’ echoing a more European feel than any other song heard so far. Imagine a thrashier sounding Running Wild – and you’ll have some idea of where I’m coming from. Only some idea though, ’cause until you actually listen to Emerald Rage, you’ve got no idea what the band sound like!
Entering the fray, ‘Stone Monkey’ brings a touch of hard rock to the album, along with the mighty foot stomping attitude that changed the face of hard rock music during the nineties – when bands such as Motley Crue ditched their eighties party anthem antics in favour of a harder, more abrasive style! But thankfully, Emerald Rage return their heavy metal roots to the surface, ‘Stone Monkey’ becoming an all out metal rampage as it strides to a finish. And an all out metal rampage is where we remain, the band storming on with the fast paced and highly head bang-able ‘A Broken Silence’, portraying perfectly the majestic melodic side of heavy metal. Likely to be the most infectious song on offer, ‘A Broken Silence’ is instantly likeable, and may even become a crowd favourite should the band play it live. Bringing the album to a close is the longest song on offer ‘Paradiso’, stretching to over ten minutes in length – featuring a glorious story telling vibe alongside a meld of phenomenal speed and incredible power.
Overall, a barnstorming array of heavy metal with a weighty touch of thrash, ‘Valkyrie’ is a head bang-able march of infectious metal.
Prince of the Moon
Saints & Heretics
A Broken Silence
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