|Review: Vhaldemar - I Made My Own Hell|
|I Made My Own Hell|
Label: Arise Records
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: December 29, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:I Made My Own Hell
Rated 4/5 (80%) (10 Votes)
And here I thought Spanish Power Metal was just a bunch of Italian-wannabes like Red Wine. No, here comes Vhaldemar with their second album to prove just how wrong I was. Besides Dark Moor and Berserk I had no idea there were any good bands in the Iberian part of the world, but this disc kicks some major ass.
I was expecting something more keyboardy and neoclassical, but Vhaldemar are a much more traditional Heavy Metal band. This is melodic, sure, but between the super-crunchy guitar attack and the rough-edged vocals of Carlos Escudero this is much more like German metal than Italian. The real star of the show here is obviously guitar virtuoso Pedro Monge, who is a genuine shredder of the old-school. He reminds me of a metal Eddie Van Halen with his intricate leads and the little taps, bends and other goodies he spikes his riffs with to keep things interesting. He doesn't noodle out of control, but always stays on track.
And what a track! There are a few spots here and there where Vhaldemar slow things down, but for 90% of the disc this is pedal-to-the-metal all the way with some absolutely killer riffs that will make you pound your fist and holler "Yeeeeaaaaaah!" no matter how this may disturb your coworkers. Blistering cuts like the title track, the headbanging "Breakin' All The Rules" and the riff-hammer "Steam-Roller" will put a smile on your fuckin' metal face. Even the instrumental "Mystery" frigging smokes. The one slower tune is "Old King's Visions (Part II)", and it is the weakest cut on here, as it points up Vhaldemar's flaws.
One, their singer, Mr. Escudero, is simply not that great. Now make no mistake, on the fast cuts he fucking kills, as his hard-edged Udo style suits those fine. But when he tries to carry a more dynamic tune and sing a ballad he just doesn't have the stuff for it. I'm not saying they should ditch him, they just need to keep the speed cranked up and fucking rock, metal has enough wimpy ballads.
The other thing that needs work is the lyrics. For the most part you can ignore them because the music is so fucking cool, but whenever you can make them out you will wince. I realize there is an obvious language barrier problem at work here, and I laud the band for making the effort to write and sing in English, but some of these lyrics are just terrible. That said, a lot of them are OK, and as I said, they hardly detract from the music, except on the aforementioned ballad.
Far from being the Rhapsody-worship I expected, this is full-throttle heavy fucking metal all the way, and with the one exception it totally rules. If you favor heavier Power Metal like Grave Digger or even Wizard then this is a CD you will be glad to get. When it comes to energy and awesome guitarwork Vhaldemar really deliver, and I am highly impressed.
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