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Review: Valkija - Avengers of Steel
Avengers of Steel

Label: Sonic Age Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 50:00
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: December 16, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Avengers of Steel

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)

I was a bit apprehensive when I first got this: The promo sheet mentioned female vocals, the name of the band seemed a bit flowery, and the picture of the singer seemed to lean toward yet another opera-style singer, something we really don't need. Well, rejoice, for this was all misconception. Valkija was formed in Italy in 1999, and this is their first full-length album. This is not power metal, nor symphonic, not any of that stuff: This bands worships 80s metal icons (Judas Priest, Dio, Saxon etc...) and this album sounds almost like an original tribute to their influences.

First, the vocals: Not only can this woman sing, but she sounds better and more aggressive than many male singers in heavy and power metal - no little flowery vocals here! She pulls off vocals with audible influences ranging from Doro and Dio, up to Painkiller-era Judas Priest (check out "Sign of the Hammer"). Note that I said influences, not that she sounds exactly like them. ;) She displays quite a range of vocals, not always perfect but nevertheless very listenable. Only at the beginning of "Steel Avenger" does the extremely high-pitched screaming really gets annoying, but that's only a few passages in that song, and I found that I got used to it after a few listens. I've read some complaints about her accent, but English not being my mother tongue, I tend to not notice that as much, so I can't say any of that bothered me. Your mileage may vary.

Musically the influences are in the same vein as the vocals - from melodic heavy metal à la Dio up to Painkiller-era Priest - quite a bit of variety in the sound and overall very well done. This is not over-polished, there are a few rough edges, but unlike many I find this actually gives an added punch to the music, rather than hamper it. "Traditional" heavy metal needs a bit of a raw, crunchy sound, and I think they managed to deliver that here.

"Avengers of Steel" shines by its barebones approach to metal: Catchy, crunchy, raw and with powerful aggressive vocals. This rocked me off my socks. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
  1. The Last One
  2. Hold On
  3. Eyes Of The Shadows
  4. Return Of The King
  5. Sign Of The Hammer
  6. The Unknown Kadath
  7. Soon Of Thunder
  8. Steel Avenger
  9. Hatchet Blade
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