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VALDUR - Goat of Iniquity

Released October 19/18 (Blood Mountain Records)

Here's one that should be skipped by the faint of heart. On their sixth full length, California's Valdur (in action since 2003) summon up a sound "from the very depths of Hell", as Venom once said. Take the epic title track which effectively places the listener in a deep underground crypt with speakers pointed down from every corner, blasting on maximum. There's no escaping the relentless wall of sound that batters you for 9+ minutes, all the while being serenaded by what sounds like a muffled reproach by a demented cemetery groundskeeper who has clearly seen too much. Definitely a harrowing experience.

What makes this album all the more effective is the use of intermittent sound effects (bells, voices, etc.) and a production job that allows all the instruments to be discerned within the maelstrom. Of special note is the unreal drum work of Matthew (Sxuperion) who batters the kit mercilessly in a continuous cascade of rolls and blasts. Yep, the rare extreme metal release that begs for headphone consumption!

Take away the concluding eight-minute noisefest ('Iniquitous'), which sounds like a train scraping tenuously on its rails just before impact, and you're left with a half hour of utterly blitzed extreme warfare. Amazing.

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