December 1, 2012 by Beldrac
Valborg – Nekrodepression
Genre: Progressive Doom Metal
It came as some surprise to me that some of the most prominent English-language Metal sites don’t have many, if any, reviews up for this band. I’m surprised because they’re i.m.h.o. one of the most recognisable acts around these days and over the last four years, have consistently released one of the most-enjoyable albums of that year. So, who are they?
They’re a German trio signed to Zeitgeister Music and their style can best be described as Progressive Doom/Death Metal, but putting a label on them won’t effectively describe them (as is so often the case nowadays.) There are suggestions of Sludge also; the repetitive murky riffs that are accompanied by a deep growling moan speak of a subterranean beast trying to free itself from its earthly womb of muck. I could even draw slight comparisons to some heavier Punk I’ve heard.
As mentioned, this is their fourth album in as many years and Valborg have produced a few great album covers and this one, of a cyclops skeleton holding some sort of rifle, doesn’t disappoint. The album starts with a slow Doomy riff with rhythmic drumming and a scream brings the vocals to the fold. This basic structure is maintained throughout the track with a few changes here and there to break up the monotony. This is what much of Valborg’s music is like – based on simple elements but with enough changes in tempo and variation in structure and time to create some space for the mind to explore.
It’s not all ugly and grimy – the opening riff of Kloster reminded me a little of a Katatonia song from their milder-middle period – the name of which my brain refuses to recall. There are moments on the album where I was surprised at the almost elegant nuances that they produce and another fine example is “Springtime Woman” that also slows the pace and mood to…I want to say Anathema territory, but now I even got a hint of old Paradise Lost. Valborg occasionally enhance the atmosphere with strokes of keyboard but this is mostly interlude-type parts in songs or intros/outros, or a short filler-track like “Taufe,” for example. This adds a strange ethereal sense to the album – and it’s not just this one – that further enrich it. For music that at its core is so straight forward, they know just how to keep you intrigued and your ears peeled.
The pace and aggression on the album is varied so you don’t always feel like you’ve been stuffed into a metal box and thrown tumbling down a mountain. I suspect that like with their other albums, “Nekrodepression” is best ground up and snorted on days where the world around you matters as much as a sneeze, and hauled out again until you feel the need to wreak some more passive havoc on civilization. This is by no means a bad thing – the album has more attitude than a minotaur on steroids and like the marketing slogan says: “Nekrodepression will destroy you.”
Check out Zeitgeister’s Youtube channel for more.