Formed in Vizcaya, Spain, Vhäldemar have been around since the late 90’s. They’ve released a number of albums over the years, played a little live, and finally ended up on Dave Rotten’s Fighter Records. The deal with Fighter is an ambitious one, and includes the remastered reissue of the bands two first albums Fight to the End from 2002 and I Made my Own Hell from 2003 on a double-CD with bonus material. The next full length is scheduled for October 2017, but as a sort of interlude the present EP – entitled Old King’s Visions – has been released on a nice little digipak.
The five piece outfit plays rather straight forward, upbeat and epic metal. “1366 (Old King’s Visions Pt. V)” has a strong taste of melodic thrash riffing, similar to UK’s Sabbat, and such influences occur every now and then. For the vast majority of the play time, Vhäldemar’s style lies somewhere between power and heavy metal, with multiple Manowar-style double kick drum parts. Earlier Helloween must also be mentioned, and it is probably no coincidence that the fifth and last track is a cover of “Gorgar”. An awesome cover to boot.
The vocals may be the EP’s strongest point, having just enough rust and roughness to avoid becoming pure castrato, while still effortlessly hitting all those high notes. Drums and strings are tight, swaggering back and forth between happy and somewhat tougher. Fans of guitar solos will also have their fill, even while the length of these instrumental exercises never overstay their welcome. In fact, the song-writing and arrangement choices made on Old King’s Visions are overall very well thought out. Whether the songs are fast or a bit slower, they always have a fine tempo and never get boring.
Vhäldemar is yet another Spanish metal band that could and probably should be much more well-known, perhaps commercially successful. Their joyous power metal stylings can improve your mood, serve as theme music to soaring eagles, or make your head bang. Like most modern metal releases, it is available on physical format (from Xtreem Music’s webshop) and digital download (from Fighter Record’s bandcamp) alike.