By Mike Delano
The power of the riff compels Valkyrie, a Virginia heavy rock group led by guitarists/vocalists Pete (also of Baroness) and Jake Adams. Their third record, Shadows, is heavy on the Sabbath worship, but isn’t afraid to go off the path on some interesting detours. The opening one-two punch of “Mountain Stomp” and “Golden Age” stampede forth with some familiar hooks that wouldn’t sound out of place on Master of Reality or Vol. 4, but by the time “Temple” rolls around, it’s clear that the band’s not afraid to get weird and dip into the fantastically trippy sounds of Sabbath’s mid-70’s period. Then the band ventures deep into the woods with “Wintry Plains” — a Kyuss-style fuzzed-out acid trip into the desert — and “Echoes (Of The Way We Lived),” which culminates in a Maiden-worthy guitar-dueling fireworks display. It’s all great fun on these seven songs, but the album as a whole seems to be lacking a certain spark. The rock heroes that are emulated on Shadows were hell-bent on conquering the world with their music, but Valkyrie seems more content with some playing some weekend gigs down at the local pub. If that is indeed the extent of their ambition, then for sure these songs will help a couple of pints go down easier.