Valient Thorr – Old Salt
Released by: Napalm Records
Released on: July 29th, 2016.
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Valient Thorr, who hail from North Carolina and currently made up of Valient Himself on vocals, Eidan Thorr and Sadat Thorr on guitar, Dr. Professor Nitewolf Strangees on bass and Lucian Thorr behind the drums, have, with old Salt, unleashed their latest full length album (and their first for Napalm Records). And it’s pretty great. Really great, actually. For those unfamiliar with the band’s earlier output, take the MC5, The Dictators and the Hellacopters and put them all into a big, musical blender with a dash of Motorhead – what comes out is a mix of those bands with its own unique taste.
Mirakuru kicks in the door and gets things going proper with four minutes of riff-tastic rock play fast, dirty and mean. Crashing drums and cymbals, a thick bass line and yeah, those guitars – it’s a beautiful thing. There’s a lot of attitude in this one, it comes through nicely and it’ll get your fist pumping in no time. Lil Knife takes things in a different direction, it’s got a bluesier backbone to it but at the same time it doesn’t let up on the heaviness. The vocals are straight up obnoxious in the best way possible. There’s some genuine diversity in this track, it stands out for that reason and it’s catchy as catchy can be.
Cut And Run and No Count Blues keep that bluesy thing going in a big way, but again, Valient Thorr don’t skimp on the rock either. Cut And Run features the most berserk vocal delivery on the album, Valient goes off the rails here, then reels it in a bit and then goes nuts again. No Count Blues is faster, nastier, dirtier sounding – some cool stop/start going on with the guitar work here, and some chunky riffing making you pay attention. The Trudge starts off with some alien style vocals channeled through a bit of effects filters. It’s pretty cool, gives things a spacey vibe until about twenty seconds later the band crash lands and starts blasting with both barrels.
Worm Up is, when it starts at least, more in keeping with the opening track, it’s got some skuzzy attitude and it’s ballsy, aggressive and over the top. But again, it’s catchy, there’s a lot of melody behind the noise that these guys make, you can’t help but hear it. They slow it down a bit then speed it back up –it’s a pretty unpredictable track. And that’s a good thing. Spellbroke is a bit more straight ahead, just a really solid slab of rock n roll, four and a half minutes of it. It might also be the tightest sounding track on the album.
Linen Maker is the shortest track on the record at just over two minutes, it’s an instrumental and calm one at that, but it leads into The Shroud which is by far the darkest, heaviest, meanest and leanest track out of the eleven songs that are Old Salt. Looking Glass gets things back into catchy, upbeat territory with some absolutely killer hooks and a sing-along style chorus. Jealous Gods closes the album in a similar vein, some catchy, guitar-centric rock n roll with a bluesy backbone and some decidedly erratic chord changes here and there to keep it interesting.
All in all it’s a really fun album. There’s some definite southern rock stylings here but it’s channeled through some beautifully noisy pre-punk sounds that harken back to their first couple of albums, the ones that were a bit more raw and a bit less polished than recent efforts. And it all sounds fantastic – the production values here are impressive, you can clearly and easily make out all of the different instruments but at the same time, it’s not overdone. The vocals are fantastic, the levels are set really well and this just sounds great from start to finish. This is one of those records that should easily please long time fans of the band and hopefully earn them some new ones at the same time.