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Album Review: Valient Thorr - Stranger

It’s time to grow your hair and don your denim cut-offs, as North Carolina’s thrash monsters Valient Thorr are back. Album number four, 'Stranger', is quite a beast and though it starts with almost hardcore intentions, it is one hundred percent thrash in origin. 'Strangers' is a fresh take on a nostalgic sound; you can firmly believe you are skating pools in the eighties without feeling contradicted by The fact that you are listening an iPod.

‘Gillionaire’ is the perfect start to the album, it’s riff heavy bounce, inducing a session of head-banging almost immediately. Whilst it would hardly be surprising if Valient Himself was singing of demons and dragon slaying, such are the metal aspects of 'Stranger'; it is refreshing that Valient Thorr’s lyrical battles are with real and legitimate targets. Take lead single, ‘Double-Crossed’; an explosive attack at deceitful banks and shoddy money men or the aforementioned ‘Gillionaire’ is an anthem of disgust at consumer- driven society and general greed. Both are themes that are of the time and easily relateable.

Throughout Valient Thorr occasionally slip into sounding more hardcore than metal, particularly on ‘Sleeper Awakes’ where they sound a little bit like Nerve Agents. ‘Habituary’ and ‘Future Humans’ certainly have the metal balls to back up their outspoken moralistic agendas. ‘Habituary’ deals with people who have their priorities in the wrong place, and ‘Future Humans’ is a stark warning to a society obsessed with plastic surgery and continually drugged up. However, ‘Night Terrors’ is Valient Thorr at their best, suitably nostalgic, extremely skillful and balls-to-the-wall rocking. It yearns to be played at full volume in your house, or as the accompaniment to summer nights tearing up the streets.

Neo-thrash is on it’s way back, and while bands like Municipal Waste may be better known and have a bigger following, on the strength of 'Strangers', not to mention their back catalogue, all signs suggest that Valient Thorr could be looking to wrestle that crown.


'Stranger' by Valient Thorr is available now on Volcom Entertainment.

Valient Thorr on MySpace.

Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!