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Valborg - Endstrand album review

German blackhearts sharpen up and go for broke

Cover art for Valborg - Endstrand album

Valborg were once regarded as a perfunctory exercise in Tom G Warrior worship, but the Germans have since evolved into something subtly unique. Endstrand takes its cues from pounding, doom-laden black metal and serrated-edge riffs that exist somewhere between Crowbar’s lumbering doomcore and the mid-paced dagger-jabs of Khold. But where previous albums suffered from a lack of ideas or an unhelpful addiction to somnambulant tempos, album six feels dynamic, diverse and compelling, its morose vibes crystallising around a more colourfulvision of heaviness and a greater sense of sonic ebb and flow. Moments of atmospheric respite are few, but even within the motoring muscularity of ragers like Blut Am Eisen, the band’s shrewdly enhanced sound is more than evident. Variously masters of reverb-drenched menace on the eerie post-punk thud of Bunkerluft, bug-eyed blackened noise-punks on the jolting Atompetze and feedback-wielding firebrands on the Triptykon-tinged Geisterwürde, Valborg have delivered a slow burning monster.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.