Depressive Art for Lost Souls: “Barbarian” by Valborg

A rainy day: dark, cold and grey. In one word: depressing. This really puts me in the right mood for Valborg’s 2011 effort Barbarian.

For the uninitiated: Valborg are part of the Zeitgeister community from Bonn, Germany. It’s a collective of highly creative and skilled musicians and features bands like Klabautamann and Woburn House  (check out the reviews for The Old Chamber and Sleep Summer Storm respectively) , to name a few. Mostly the bands/projects are settled in the Postrock and Ambient Black Metal genres.


With  Barbarian, the band takes a new direction in terms of style. Musically, the harsh Black Metal influence present on the first two albums is almost gone, leaving only the grim and eerie atmosphere akin to Celtic Frost’s Monotheist. Nihilistic and chilling, yet sometimes warm, but always unique, the sound of Barbarian carves its own niche in what I would call loosely a crossing between Ambient Black Metal and Postrock. When the monotone chants of “Astral Kingdom” start and that pounding Sludge riff sets off, it’s hard to turn on to something else.  Barbarian is by no means an album you should listen to while being distracted with everyday life!

The instruments are well mixed and produced, especially the outstanding interaction of bass and guitar, a major trademark of the band, becomes clearly audible. Knob twiddler Oliver Weiskopf has done his best job so far, as he also produced Glorification of Pain and Crown Of Sorrow. Drummer Florian Toyka does a great job, too, as his percussive work never gets overtly extravagant and stays appropriate all the time.

As I’m writing this, the next album is already being produced. A lot of bands could take a leaf out of Valborg’s book regarding creativity…

Tracklist:

1. Intro (0:42) 2. Astral Kingdom (6:02) 3. Battlefield Of Souls (3:42) 4. Exterminator (4:45) 5. Amethystine Skies (4:56) 6. Dead Flowers On A Demon Grave (4:12) 7. Phlegethonian Stream (4:35) 8. Towering Clouds (8:12) 9. Iron Dreams (2:41) 10. Samantha Alive (9:22) 11. Last Silence (1:40)

Christian Kolf, Jan Buckard, Florian Toyka

Check out the trailer below to hear some excerpts and buy the album at the Zeitgeister shop.

e (1:40)

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