Valborg – Romantik


The devil is in the detail…

Review by Jason Guest

Temple of Torturous

Release date: 19 May 2015

Valborg. A band that deals in dense and opaque arrangements laced with doom-heavy guitar riffs. Until now, that is. Three years after Nekrodepression, Valborg have turned their focus away from the guitars, though not completely, and turned to synths and a massive throbbing organ to concentrate on texture, atmospherics, and all-encompassing soundscapes designed to engulf the listener and quietly (relatively speaking, of course) consume them.

While a fairly straightforward album, 2012’s Nekrodepression still stands as a great album (take a listen here) but with its distinct shift in sonic approach, Romantik towers far above. The guitars playing a mostly supportive and occasionally melodic role to the exquisitely multi-layered synths, Romantik is as complex as it is subtle, emotional and darkly captivating. With a cinematic feel akin to that of Vangelis and the warm and vulnerable ambience of NIN, where their previous works tended to drag the listener down into the pitch-black murk of doom and gloom, this is curiously but gloriously uplifting. Add to the mix a vocal that ranges from chillingly pained whispers to one that compels as much as it commands and the contrast between the dark and light is enhanced, the shaded areas between the extremes deepening as the journey moves onward to the beautiful coda of incredible closer ‘The Haunted Womb’.

Romantik’s church-like magnitude is ominous and imposing and on the surface may appear a simple work, but the devil is in the nuance and the detail. Rather than an attempt to evoke or pin down the darkness with loud, misery-laden guitar riffs, this is an exploration of the darkness of which they previously only spoke. Had they delivered another Nekrodepression, it would no doubt have been good but stepping out of what may well have been the tried-and-tested-and-drearily-predictable and into the eternal promises of nothingness, Romantik is so much the better for it.

Valborg – Romantik20158 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Vampyr
  2. Blitz Aus Sodom
  3. Comtesse
  4. Sulphur Vitriol Angel
  5. Kryptische Arroganz
  6. The Haunted Womb


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