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The Unglorious Conspiracy
Released: 2001, Black Lotus Records
Here I sit, in front of my glorified 486 calculator at work, listening to the hum and drone of the equipment in the background, listening to a CD. This has become pretty standard practice for me in the last little while. Break time I sit here and listen to metal, maybe type a few lines (if this POS computer will let me) and just try to relax. Hard to do when the noise of the machinery makes it sound as if the world is coming to an end. Maybe thats where my deafness comes from! Oh well back to the CD review that I am trying to write. I have in front of me the latest release and first full length from Naples Italy unit, Valiance. valiance had its beginnings in 1994 when a bunch of 17 year olds put together the band Trixotropia. The band based their sound on their favourite New Wave of British Heavy Metal acts and started playing shows heavily to work on their act. In 1996 the band recorded its first demo called KILLING THE PIGS KILLER. Soon after the band vocalist and one guitarist split which caused a great delay in playing shows and working on new material. In 1997 the band replenished its lineup and after some adjustment time the band went back into the studio to record the track "King of Toys". Another 2 years passes and yet another member change when they released the self produced promo "Beyond The Line". The band changed their name to Valiance (good decision if you ask me) and signed to Black Lotus records.
Valiance play powermetal that is epic in nature. Almost a grittier and less classically based Rhapsody if I have to make a comparison. "Sleeper’s Reign" is a great example of this song as it mixes driving powermetal with great choirs and epic keyboard work. "Oceans of Thought" is a straight ahead pounding powermetal track. They keyboard work on this track is almost progressive in nature. "King of Toys" makes an appearance on this CD and it is a very interesting track. Valiance, on top of their epic and powermetal sides add in just a tad of prog metal. Mostly this is found in the execution of the keyboards. "Swords Made of Me" is an all out double bass kicking power track in the best tradition of Rhapsody. The vocals of Carmine Gottardo are powerful yet he has a rough edge to his voice that does him well. "Towards Silence" is a powerful album closer if you don’t count the folk influenced outro that seems to be ever present on today’s powermetal releases.
With Italy being the home of some great bands such as Labyrinth, Rhapsody, White Skull and Tarantula I was hoping for great things from this Naples group. Though they are not quite there yet it is only a matter of time. Its not like this band has come out of nowhere. The core of Valiance has been around for 8 years and now with new members and a new name it seems that they are finding a path to call their own. http://www.valiance.it
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