Artist: I, Valiance
Album: I, Valiance I, II, III
If you pop over to the Facebook page for Melbourne-based metallers I, Valiance, you’ll be greeted with an “about” section that doesn’t seem like it lends much actual information about the band. You’ll get a smattering of late 90s/early 2000s hip-hop artists, some very minimalistic descriptions of their desires for the listener to “let the music speak for itself,” and…well, not much else. If you’re the type that likes to read up a little on bands before getting invested, you’d be left in a quandary—Hell, maybe that’s why you’re reading this article. However, over the last nine months, this Australian technical-turned-progressive-turned-experimental deathcore outfit have released a series of songs spread across two-going-on-three EPs that speak true the volumes omitted from their social media biography—and with the release of III, the group’s Odessan quest comes to a close. To cut to the chase, they’re right—you should just let the music speak for itself—but that doesn’t mean I, Valiance are totally beyond description. The outfit combine elements of extreme technicality in their unique approach to creating relentless, aggressive music. With segments that sound like a surf-rock record after a bad bender and other sections that sound like Rings of Saturn without the wankery and…post-production liberties, I, Valiance do their reputation for creating funky, furious deathcore proud, with the final four tracks that round out an hour-plus of ruthless, riveting and relentless Australian aggression.
I, Valiance are a band who have long been known for their instrumental prowess—and for good reason. That trend continues with their most recent collection of efforts, which combines elements from surf and alternative rock to hard-hitting technical deathcore. Sound confusing? It kind of is—but it tantalizes the senses in all the right ways. “Sensory Deprivation” is an aptly named and outstanding example. Then, there’s the equally apt “Mind Shattering Madness,” which is a sprawling adventure through atmosphere and aggression both. Here, the drums oscillate from scathing to subtle, touching on an immense array of influences. Likewise, the band’s bass and jarring guitar follow suit, with “Sensory Deprivation” hitting on all sorts of wild-and-crazy styles that will no doubt leave the listener’s jaw slacked. “The Witches Den” from I and “Three Daggers” from II are similar. I, Valiance spend the approximate hour of runtime that EPs I-III comprise and leave no stone unturned. With several segments of II drawing from hip-hop (and what feels like disco with “I, the Enemy”) while III includes splashes of bizarre rock offshoots and I hitting like a sucker-punch with a fist filled with quarters. While I could keep going, the idea is that there is an immense array of influences for listeners of any proclivity to sink their ears in.
The same diversity that makes I, Valiance stand out instrumentally is abundant where their vocal element is concerned. The band is built on a foundation of immense, metallic diversity—with blistering screams and low bellows running rampant through every installment of the band’s trilogy of EPs. However, II sees the band drawing from a much more pronounced hip-hop wellspring, just as III channels a more progressive undertone, making use of various vocal effects to stave off stagnancy and monotony. I, Valiance remain diverse, which stands as their greatest asset in the contemporary heavy music scene. Many bands boast tremendous vocalists that are talented, yes, but only in one dimension—with installments I, II and III, I Valiance prove that they’re the exception that proves the rule.
I, Valiance close out their trilology with III, and it is a record to be experienced. While it does get pretty weird at times, and it might be a little bit out of the standard wheelhouse for many heavy music enthusiasts, it’s still a damn good record. Heavy, catchy, groovy and technical all at once, I, Valiance insist that they are far from a one-trick pony, and that they have quite a bit to prove when it comes to blending genres all in a colossal metallic mixing pot.
For Fans Of: Lorna Shore, Rings of Saturn, Aversions Crown, Oceano
By: Connor Welsh