VHALDEMAR - I MADE MY OWN HELL - ARISE
Vhaldemar has to be the surprise band of the month hands down. The Spaniards, who are new to Metallian Towers, are a raging heavy/speed metal band with a heap of talent. The quartet has a guitarist who comes across as a heavy metal Yngwie. Except unlike the Swedish meatball, Pedro J. Monge can actually write songs. The group is fronted by singer/guitarist Carlos Escudero who sounds like the bastard child of Manowar's Eric Adams and Running Wild's Rock 'n' Rolf - no word on whether he is an arrogant American prick or a German pirate however.
Vhaldemar is more a heavy speed metal band with lightning fast guitars than a Malmsteen-ish pop act with a gritty singer. Metal fans would dig this stuff. The first four songs on this CD are non-stop shredding and rollicking metal fests with aforementioned characteristics. The exception is the instrumental track Mystery where the guitars abandon Malmsteen for George Lynch. Either way, the song is a metallic explosion. Mystery is quickly followed by House Of War which is composed in the best speed metal traditions. This track takes Annihilator and early Helloween to the wall. The album does have a couple of duds (like track ten Death Comes Tonight), but overall remains one of the best true pieces of ore out in the market this year. - Ali "The Metallian"