Do you also think that there hasn’t been any Metal from Hellas on this blog for far too long? Well, we feel the same way – therefore: Curtain up for Validor from Athens!
Strictly speaking, Validor is not a classic band, but a solo project of Odi Thunderer. Nevertheless, on his fifth studio album Full Triumphed almost a complete team can be heard, because the mastermind is reinforced by Apollo Gi (drums) and none other than Bob Katsionis (lead guitar, bass, keyboards, also working as a producer).
If you take a look at the artwork, you’ll undoubtedly be in the right mood for gritty, slightly barbaric epic heavy metal of the old school. More cliché is not possible – and therefore it is of course fantastic and 100% Epic Metal Blog compatible. I sincerely feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t want to go axe-wielding through the neighborhood here….
But does the music live up to the promise of the cover? To avoid any unnecessary tension at all: The answer is yes! I must admit that the very opulent intro “Dawn of New Age” with its symphonic elements and powerful choirs irritated me a bit at first. Joey DeMaio would have, not least because of the theatrical spoken word elements, probably his bright joy with this appetizer. But in the following 36 minutes it goes on much less kitschy…
Validor primarily offer us powerful battle anthems that prove to be real adrenaline bombs – no prisoners are taken here. The sometimes quite sublime guitar melodies exude the typical Hellenic charm, which presumably every reader of this blog loves. Coupled with the passionate vocals, which have a certain oddball note, as well as the thundering drums and the powerful bass, that is always well accentuated, Full Triumphed is truly a treat for every genre fan.
It is not so easy to point out highlights here, because all songs are on a similarly high level: “Man of Steel“ and “Strong Winds“, like other tracks, have a punchy, catchy chorus that you want to bawl along to on the first listen. “The Ten Thousand“ captivates with early-Skyclad vibes, which my colleague Aidan correctly identified in several places on this album (listen to “The Declaration of Indifference“ in this regard). “Gladiator“ is a really great hymn with goosebump moments, which certainly does not have to hide from any epic heavy metal composition this year. By the way, the same applies to the multi-layered, extremely dramatic and epic final track “Conquest of Steel“ – here Validor show that they can write better Manowar songs than today’s Manowar…
Conclusion: On Full Triumphed Validor make music free of any concessions to the current metal mainstream. In essence, this is music by fans for fans, honest, sweaty and traditional. Of course, nothing is innovative here, but that’s not the purpose of this record anyway: We are dealing with an utterly well-done epic heavy metal mass, which will appear in many best-of lists at the end of the year. If you like bands like Achelous, Wrathblade and early-Skyclad, you should take a listen to Full Triumphed…