Released: 2012, Iron On Iron Records
It’s been a long road for Greece’s true metal stalwart Odi “Thunderer”. His, and Validor’s roots stretch back to 2005, but it was only in 2011 that the band managed to get it together enough to release their debut album, IN BATTLE, IN BLOOD. Since then, the “band” has been reduced to Odi and a series of guest musicians (including the ever-present Greek metallian Bob Katsionis). Odi is persistent though, and has presented the metal world with his second Validor effort, DAWN OF THE AVENGER.
If the album’s cover gives you a Manowar vibe, congratulations, because in many ways this is the album we’ve wanted from Joey DiMaio and co. for about a decade now. While the production is quite a bit muddier than I’d like, the galloping riffs and He-Man lyrics (literally, in the case of “Greyskull”) are perfect fare for the Manowar crowd. Rollicking metal songs like the aforementioned “Greyskull” and “Glory of Thundera” (yep, that’s a ThunderCats reference – Validor is clearly a band unconcerned if they’re considered cheesy) are invigorating as hell, easily besting many of their traditional metal competitors. Hell, the band even throws in a cover of Manilla Road’s “Hour of the Dragon” just for the hell of it, showing that their roots go much deeper than you might expect at first glance.
The music is indeed refreshing but there are a few flaws. A couple of the songs aren’t overly memorable, and Odi’s vocals are an acquired taste. He’s certainly not bad, but his gruff, untrained style doesn’t always lend itself to the soaring riffs.
There’s no doubt that Validor is on to something here as this is an energy-filled album that is eminently listenable. This is definitely worth checking out for all fans of swords & sorcery-filled traditional metal.