VALGRIND "Millennium Of Night Bliss" CD (Memento Mori 2023)
The highly anticipated 5th full-length by this Italian band. By now, those who follow our dark deeds should be well familiar with Valgrind. Despite forming all the way back in 1996 and releasing three demos and an EP before going on hiatus in 2002, it was the 2012 debut album, "Morning Will Come No More" where Valgrind kicked off their activities... and there´s been no looking back. With steadfast dependability and ever-so-slight "progression" each time, these Italians have quietly become stalwarts of classics-minded Death Metal that isn´t completely blinkered by the past. Yes, their influences largely remain the same -foundational Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Death, Nocturnus, Possessed, Monstrosity and Immolation- but Valgrind have increasingly sought their own muse, becoming more personal in lyrical approach whilst keeping their attack trend-free Death Metal. But if 2020´s Memento Mori-released "Condemnation" signaled a sea-change for Valgrind -an undeniably "something", a never-belabored uniqueness, despite mostly still sounding like the same band- then they certainly continue this sterling development with "Millennium of Night Bliss". Indeed, there´s an eerie aura and a more supernatural lyrical bent that fuel Valgrind´s fifth album, and the power-trio duly whip forth a vortex of dark and dazzling technicality and jaw-dropping chops. Everywhere you turn across the nine-song/38-minute work, there´s some slipstreaming portal opening up into another into another ad infinitum; one could say "Millennium of Night Bliss" isn´t so much a "complex" record (although it is) as it´s one of rippling darkness and dementia. Truly, Valgrind sound mental here, as the blazing angularity and "tunefully atonal" intensity hearken to such once-slept-on classics as Immolation´s "Here in After" and Morbid Angel´s "Formulas Fatal to the Flesh". However, the Italians still continue to exert their own identity, adding just the right amount of melody and making the remarkably crisp and clean production work entirely for them. Could "Millennium of Night Bliss" be Valgrind´s best record yet? Put in the work and lose thyself in its labyrinths, and surely will you see the night-blissful truth!