Been a while since we’ve heard from these Virginia doomsters—split 7” with Earthling aside, they haven’t released a record since 2008. And yet, their profile has grown somewhat in their absence, what with guitarist Pete Adams joining Baroness. Suffice to say, the Baroness connection secured their record deal with Relapse, providing the resources—recorded by Sanford Parker, mixed by Brad Boatright—to lay the foundation for a pretty decent album.
This one gets off to a solid start, “Mountain Stomp” embodying its title with some bluesy, winding riffs and Led Zep vocal worship, before picking up the pace to a Maidenesque gallop complete with soaring double leads. “Golden Age” sounds sorta like The Sword or Baroness before they went soft, while the closing combo of “Echos (of the Way We Lived)” and “Carry On” brings Pentagram to mind. There are several rock-solid riffs and soaring solos scattered throughout these seven tracks.
There is also an ever-present sense of melodic dynamism here, which transcends doom into just plain good ol’ rock ‘n roll. I wouldn’t call Valkyrie retro-rock revivalists—this is simply heavy, melody-driven rock that doesn’t suck.