At War With has a dark and murky sound. The guitars are very bass-heavy and this whole LP reminds me of old Disembowelment and Corpse Molestation, but the music has an early Swedish Death Metal feeling. Valdur is a band that isn’t afraid of mixing in some melody in with the carnage and destruction that they’re dishing out, something that was particularly effective in making the songs memorable and interesting. If this album had been song after song of brutal riff after brutal riff, it would have bored the shit out of me in no time flat. By mixing things up, the songs became far more listenable. Even though the band operated in a tight tonal range for the bulk of this LP, the melodic parts, the atmospheric elements and the tempo changes (going from Grind level speeds to slower and heavier) broke things up enough so that I never started thinking that I was listening to several different versions of the same track. This is some brutal and ugly Black/Death Metal and that’s the kind of music I like to hear. If there was one area that I would have changed, it would be the loudness of the drums. There are times when the drums, particularly the snare, drown out the guitars. When Matthew, the drummer, isn’t blasting away, this isn’t a problem. It becomes an issue when they kick up the speed and start going into a segment were they are more in the Grind range. This doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, you notice it right away. On the whole, though, I found At War With to be an LP that was both dark and punishingly brutal, two good things that work well together in the realms of Black and Death Metal. I’m definitely looking forward to what this band produces next.
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