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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


Review online: December 16, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 4/5 (80%) (5 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.

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