There’s something wonderful about discovering a band and watching them flourish over time. I first saw Valis Ablaze a couple of years back, rejoiced upon the release of their debut EP and proudly saw them taking up some amazing support slots for the likes of Tesseract and Monuments. In a very small space of time (but after a lot of work no doubt) they are rightly rising through the ranks to the spot that they deserve and this, the release of their debut album should well and truly cement the deal.
‘Boundless’ bucks the trend of what you would typically hear from the UK Tech metal circuit, Valis have always prided themselves on a signature sound of creating emotive soundscapes over which Phil Owens haunting clean vocals weave brooding and memorable melodies. But rest assured despite the slow tempo of the bulk of the songs that make up its length, ‘Boundless’ has plenty of bite with crashing and crushing riffs sneaking up on you when you least expect them!
The album opens with a slow eerie start before the vocal melody (reminiscent of Daniel Tompkins of Tesseract) sweeps in and slowly builds with sporadic flourishes on the drums. The bass has the most fantastic tone and comes in to set the passage before the guitars wash over and the song begins in earnest giving a beautiful glimpse of what the album has in store before moving seamlessly into ‘The Crossing’.
One thing this band seem to know more than any other is the importance of space and breath. Notes are left to ring and pauses used for amazing dramatic effect over the length of the album, there are no points where anything is drowned in sound or over played despite the band who make it being amazingly talented musicians, each know their place within the piece they are creating.
I can’t find a weak song on this album, I won’t spoil its dramatic turns (and there are a fair few) but I will tell you I have an amazing soft spot for ‘Lumen’ whose chorus drips with a retro beauty which had me digging out my old Arcadia album. Other highlights were ‘Evade’ which explores a juxtaposition of light and dark along its length, and of course the singles Frequency (which include the very talented Drewsif) and Paradox which each in turn highlight the very differing musical aspects on the album.
‘Boundless’ is the debut album of Valis Ablaze and if this is just them getting warmed up then its going to be one hell of a career ahead! It’s oozing with emotion and atmosphere that draws the listener in before pummeling them with rhythmical shifts and down-tuned slabs of distortion. There’s a lot going on with this LP that will take many a re-listen to fully understand its full depth and beauty.
The album is due out on the 6th of April and you can pre-order your copy right here: https://valisablaze.lnk.to/Boundless