When I first reviewed the debut by this Cincinnati melodic black metal band, I knew that they would be something special. Wearing their influence on their sleeves, they also put their own spin on things making them stand out in a very saturated genre. Valdrin’s debut, Beyond the Forest, made me an instant fan and is still in regular rotation today. When they started putting out teasers for the follow up album I was immediately excited to hear how they progressed. The result, over four years in the making, is Two Carrion Talismans and this album is nothing short of brilliant. While the debut was an extremely strong work of melodic black metal, this album has kicked things up a notch.
The first thing I could tell about this album was that the production is much more to my liking on this one. Not too clean but not lo-fi, everything fits right into the mix creating an excellent atmosphere and listening experience. The vocals are your classic black metal rasp sounding very second wave, which is fine because it’s perfect for the music. The songs are very well thought out and flow from being epic and melodic to being quite progressive. The use of the keyboards provide another layer of atmosphere without being overdone. You have straight up epic melodic black metal songs like the opener, “Junnatox.” Then you have “Funeral Tides of Orcus,” which has some cool time changes and some even psychedelic elements in the keys and solos showing a slight modern Enslaved influence.
The melodies displayed here also need mention. “Tempest Torn Asunder” has this cool melodic part where this solo soars in and creates this incredible atmosphere. The way they interject their melodies is also what makes these guys stand out. The epic crusher, “Vesper in the Animus Lair” starts out with this weird keyboard intro that blasts into his riff fest go from black metal tremolos to pummeling thrash riffs. The keys add not only to the melody but to the overall epic atmosphere of the song. Another epic, “Crimson Blades in the Ausadjur Wake,” throws all their cards on the table. From blasting riffs to a beautiful acoustic section to this soaring solo and back again, this song is just incredible. I thought the title track of their debut would be a hard song to top but they did with this one.
At the end of the day, this album proves that Valdrin’s killer debut was not just an anomaly but a precursor to great things to come. Every song, every riff, every melody delicately put together to create a black metal masterpiece. Any fan of top quality melodic black metal should love this album….I guarantee it.