When you think of folk-metal, you don’t necessarily think Australia, but you should. Brisbane six piece Valhalore are everything you could want from a folk metal band and so much more. ‘Solace & Solitude’ is their sophomore offering and brings 3 epic originals, and 2 fantastic covers. The bands line up vocalist and cellist Lachlan Neate, guitarists and vocalists Anthony Willis and Lucas Fisher, tin whistle and flutist Sophie Christensen, bassist Matthew Grimley and drummer Morgan Cox.
Solace is first up and it opens with a crackling flame before a beautiful minute long instrumental begins. If you like being brought to tears because something is so beautiful, then Solace will be your favourite track. Neate’s dulcet vocals lull you into calm and a feeling a security throughout the track and Christensen’s musicality and talent soars. The guitar and drum work throughout is also something to behold but it is definitely Christensen who shines and really pulls you in.
Next up is a cover of Eluveitie’s A Rose For Epona. Valhalore bring a whole new feel to the track with the lead vocal being male, rather than female. The track is also completely acoustic and while it lacks the heavy guitars that the original has, the instrumental work put in by the Brisbane locals more than makes up for it.
An acoustic version of Guardians Of Time from Valhalore’s ‘Voyage Into Eternity’ is track three and it has some truly mesmerising guitar and drum work. Neate’s growling vocals from the original are replaced here with his softer and sweeter clean vocals. Perfect for sitting around a campfire, or for slowing down a live set, this acoustic brings a new and definitely not unwelcome vibe to the track.
A cover of The Bards Song by Blind Guardian is track four and it’s the shortest of the EP. It’s short and sweet and over far too quickly. Willis, Fisher and Christensen work really well together throughout and their musical arrangement of the track is highly commendable. Neate gets a few chances to show off his very impressive vocal range throughout and immerses you in the world of the song.
Finally Solitude makes its way into your ears and it’s calming and relaxing from the first bar to the last. Neate shares the vocals in the latter half of the track with guest vocalist Jacqui McLaren and the harmonies are perfect. The prettiness of the McLaren’s vocals compliment Neate’s masculine vocals beautifully. It’s a lovely way to close out the EP and really brings it all together. You’re calm and satisfied by the end of the EP but will also be wanting more and more.
Grab your copy of ‘Solace & Solitude’, out now HERE!