Hot off the Press

Valhalla | Deathless

by Justin Gaines
– News Editor / Senior Columnist —

ValhallaValhalla. Now that’s a very metal band name. And look at that cover art! You just know you’re going to get some epic Viking metal on this CD, or at the very least some blazing power metal. You know, swords and axes and glorious battles in the name of metal, right? Well, as it turns out, that old saying about not judging a book by its cover applies here. This Valhalla – which features the singer and guitarist of the now-defunct power metal band Zephania – is a new band out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and they play a very melodic and keyboard-heavy style of progressive metal.

With just five songs (most coming in at the five-minute mark), Valhalla’s debut EP Deathless only gives a brief taste of the band’s sound, but it’s strong enough and interesting enough that you’ll want to hear more. This is progressive metal that never gets too self-indulgent, and with a strong melodic aspect and a good balance between the more serene rock moments (see opening track “Live On”) and the heavy, upbeat metal elements of “Self-Imposed Hell.” Sure, there are hints of the usual Dream Theater and Fates Warning influence, but in this genre that’s unavoidable. With their emphasis on lush keyboards and Logan Detwiler’s prominent and distinct vocals, Valhalla brings to mind bands like Seventh Wonder, the (too) short-lived Vox Tempus and Odin’s Court (another underrated US progressive rock/metal band). Standouts here are “Vortex,” with its wickedly catchy hooks, and the title track, which despite its relatively short length feels like an epic tale set to music.

It may not make you want to raise your sword and charge into battle, but Deathless was a very pleasant surprise nonetheless. It’s a very solid, very enjoyable progressive metal offering, and it makes an effective introduction to a band that will bear watching in the years to come. If you’re a fan of melodic progressive metal, Valhalla is well worth checking out.

Genre: Progressive Metal

Logan Detwiler (v)
Paul Kendall (k)
Justin Zych (g)
Jeremy Harmeyer (b)
Patrick DiGangi (d)

Track Listing:
1. Live On
2. Self-Imposed Hell
3. Vortex
4. Rain
5. Deathless

Label: Self-released


Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10