South Wales has always been well known for producing serious talent. If you think back to the 90s, bands like Dub War, Flyscreen, 60-foot dolls, and of course Stereophonics and the Manics put South Wales on the musical map. We then had the likes of the Blackout, the Guns, Ruby Cruiser, Kids in Glass Houses etc who were also very successful. Now we have established acts like Bullet For My Valentine, Skindred, Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons, and brand-new talent such as Florence Black and Those Damn Crows flying the Welsh flag around the world.
The latest of the Welsh dragons climbing the ladder are Valhalla Awaits. The band consists of ex members of The Blackout, Revoker, and the considerable vocal talents of Buffalo Summer frontman Andrew Hunt.
They have been gracing the stages of the summer festivals in recent months and they really are a force to be reckoned with live. After seeing the guys open proceedings at this year’s Steelhouse festival, I can confirm that Valhalla Awaits are the real deal. No egos or drama or fancy stage shows, just full-on heads down, stripped back riffage with a wonderful sense of melody that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries.
The guys are ready to drop their second EP Reckoning on an unprepared audience. I really hope you are ready to immerse yourself in the experience of this short, sharp collection of crushing tunes. Grab a cuppa, maybe a round of toast, put your headphones on and crank it up. The EP opens up with the first single Skin & Bone, a grungy, greasy, groovy number with a Machine Head tinged riff. Drummer ‘Snoz’ Lawrence plays a blinder here with some tasteful fills and he grooves along like a freight train.
Next up we have Rolling Thunder which is a more up-tempo affair with a massive chorus, I get a definite Alter Bridge vibe from this track. Some tasty guitar work helps to build the song along with Hunt’s velvety tones. The songs are more than heavy enough to satisfy the most hardened headbanger while never compromising melody. Where Do We Go? has an Alice In Chains feel to the vocal arrangement with another ear worm of a chorus. Guitarists Rhys Carter and Chris Green work incredibly well together, and there’s an air of confidence within the band that manifests strongly in the material found here on this EP.
The final of the four tracks Inside the Sun is my favourite by far, more crunchy riffs and superb soaring vocals melt into an extremely catchy chorus. The songs are well crafted, and the production is superb. The only downside is that there are only four tracks! Hurry up with an album boys!
If you haven’t already, check out Valhalla Awaits. If you’re a fan of any of the bands that I’ve mentioned above, you won’t be disappointed.
Reckoning is available on all streaming services on October 28th. You know what to do!
Author: Kenny Kendrick