Reviewed: April 2021
Released: 2018/Crime Records
Back in 2020 I wrote an essay tracing the history of the Heavy Metal concept album. During my research for the piece I noticed that many Heavy Metal concept albums were trilogies created and written by one mastermind with the help of multiple guest stars. Examples include Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia, Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, Helena Vale’s Soulspell, Daniel Liverani’s Genius, Till Oberbobel’s Lucid Dreaming and now we can add Marius Danielsen’s Legend Of Valley Doom trilogy to that illustrious list. Late in 2021 Danielsen finished his trilogy and I have decided to review all three albums as a part of this feature. Although Norway is not known for its Power Metal Marius Danielsen helps correct that situation with his elaborate trilogy released on Crime Records. Please feel free to enjoy all three reviews in this feature and it is recommended to read them in order as the reviews build on each other.
Please note, back in 2018 my colleague John Haseltine wrote a review of this album. Generally we try to avoid reviewing the same album twice so I got his blessing to write another review of it to tie in with this feature. Feel free to read his review as part of an interesting compare and contrast exercise.
Despite a few changes, Part 2 continues on with the same high level of quality as the debut. The booklet is 20 pages long although this time there are fewer pictures. The cover art is handled by Dusan Markovic who has had a long and prolific career doing art for Thor, Jag Panzer and dozens more.
The album is self-produced again and this time Angelo Buccolieri, known for his work with Magic Kingdom and Iron Mask, gets the call to mix and master the beast. This chapter is even longer at 72 minutes across 12 tracks. There is a bonus track, an alternate version of ‘Tower Of Knowledge’ with Vinnie Appice drumming as compared to Stian Kristoffersen (Pagan’s Mind) who performed on the original. Maybe Danielsen couldn’t decide which version to use so he included both.
In terms of plot Part 2 adds quite a few more characters and layers to the story. There is even a map included to help us visualize. Both Boals and Owens return in their roles as the Dark Lord and King Thorgan respectively. The story gets even more vocal firepower with the addition of two vocal titans Michael Kiske (Helloween) as the Angel Of Light and Daniel Heiman (Lost Horizon) as the Angel of Hope. Roger Watson returns as the narrator.
The hero, still on the run after his latest defeat, is welcomed at the Kingdom of Eunomia. After seeking refuge, it is discovered that in order to defeat the Dark Lord the King must recover seven mystical artefacts, including a crystal sword which sounds rather fragile to me!
I would suggest that this chapter/album is the mellowest in terms of execution, but only by a hair. The songs tend to be slightly more dynamic and have a bit more breathing space. The addition of even more female characters and voices contribute to the broader range of vocals. There is still plenty of Power Metal insanity as evidenced on tracks such as ‘Angel Of Light’ where the aforementioned Kiske and Heiman do some great trade-offs and no less than four blazing guitar solos.
With Part 2 there is no drop in quality. Now that the project is established as legitimate even more people got on board making this a vocalists and guitar hero paradise. Bring on Part 3!
Marius Danielsen – Vocals, Guitars
Peter Danielsen – Keyboards, Vocals
Jan Thore Grefstad
Tom Naumann –
Jan Thore Grefstad
1. King Thorgan’s Hymn
2. Rise of the Dark Empire
3. Gates of Eunomia
4. Tower of Knowledge
5. Visions of the Night
6. Crystal Mountains
7. By the Dragon’s Breath
8. Under the Silver Moon
9. Angel of Light
10. Princess Lariana’s Forest
11. Temple of the Ancient God
12. We Stand Together
13. Tower of Knowledge