Seven Gates of Hell with VALDUR

2. srpna 2016 v 21:35 | RaznAgul |  seven gates of hell interviews
The aim of the open series of the blogzine´s Seven Gates of Hell interviews is to introduce the bands and their music that struck my metalhead´s heart and soul recently. In seven questions, the gates are open for those who make their music of true metal spirit, pure dedication and of what I understand as underground approach and aesthetics.

The ominous shades cast by the steep mountains of Mammouth Lakes region stood as the weird sisters at the birth of VALDUR, Californian band of the four devoted to their brand of darkened metal brutishness. Their first major coming to the cursed scene dates back to the autumn of 2007, when their eponymous debut was released. Since then, roughly every three years they tarnished the earth from the beneath with another full-length record, with the last notch called "Pathetic Scum" coming out on July last year. You have to be good at digging deep into the metal underground to get this gem of blackened death, as the album was released by their drummer´s own label Bloody Mountain Records. But once you fish out the recording from the abyss and grab tight its six songs in your nerving memory, you can exclaim hallelujah triumphantly and in a devilish roar. And then read the following interview with the band.

I. Your black-and-white fourth album "Pathetic Scum" isn´t so clear-cut in its sounding, as its wrap up might suggest. Not only does it dish out quite a distinctive blend of black and death rougness ("Tank Torture", "Impending Doom"), but it could also play with a good amount of mesmerizing energy sprouting from the spinning guitar riffs ("Blessings of the Goat", "Pathetic Sucm") or lapse into startling ambient trills ("Incantre pt. II") and tiny progressive incursions ("Morbid Emanations"). Does "Pathetic Scum" represents a whole essence of what you call Valdur metal?
"No single release could fully represent the essence of VALDUR, our music is constantly evolving with our thoughts and lives. Having said that, "Pathetic Scum" completely represents our disgust with the over-produced and pathetic trends we see all around us. Our approach is very raw and direct, and from that comes very raw and direct music. "Pathetic Scum" represents but one step in the journey that is VALDUR."

II. Some of the band´s members have (or did have) other musical bands/projects beside VALDUR, still, even those beat the same territory of blackened death metal. What´s the point in diverging your work potential and energy away from the band and into various side creations? Would not the metal spirit of VALDUR be wide enough to embrace all your worth musical inspirations and ideas?
"A lot of that is our drummer. If he's not working on VALDUR, then he can be found running the BMR label, playing in different bands or running and climbing around in the mountain range that we live in. We all are very active people and we work hard to support our lifestyles. We have been in VALDUR for so long, that we all need other things to distract us, but we always come back to VALDUR because it is our main focus. All of these things that we all do just builds more energy for VALDUR."

III. I can imagine what "scum" of the album could refer to in your stance to the world, as its reference is well shared through the scene culture. But in what way is it "pathetic"?
"Some one just said "Pathetic Scum" one day in the bunker where we hang out and rehearse, and it stuck. We were just making references to so many different kinds of people; just talking about how the human race is just a virus, and it's pathetic how fagile the human ego is. Impatient, greedy, blind humans everywhere with all of their fake shit in life. It often can seem like a pathetic waste."

IV. Maybe I am too particular about the details but it seems to be interesting how your albums are linked with sequels of the tracks "Creation" (originally on your second album "Raven God Amongst Us" , pt. II on your third "At War With") and "Incantre" (on the third album, with its follow up on "Pathetic Scum"). Do these tracks represent some substantial ties of the recordings, even though you say that Valdur´s past is too much in the mood of Norwegian blackness (due to the former vocalist/guitarist Thor) and the present with a different focus on rough metal aggressiveness?
"It is us going back and respecting our past, without dwelling on it. We have played a lot of shows and made a lot of music over the last 15 years. All of those experiences have brought us to where we are today. All of the past members of Valdur are still very close friends, and these songs are a subtle way of respecting the past, while still moving forward as a band. We have all been into this music for a long time, some of us since we were very young, in the 1980's even. So knowing where you come from is just as important as knowing where you are headed. At the moment, VALDUR is all about combining all different forms of the more extreme metal influences into one."

V. I really like your point about the strenuous living in the US extreme metal underground and the necessity of pure dedication coming with it. Is such musician´s ordeal frustrating to you, or rather fulfilling in a sense of exceptionality and, let´s say, cultural elitism in a way?
"It can be frustrating here in the U.S. because you have to sell out and conform to the scenes to become bigger. It is like you have to kiss hip-industry ass too, and we just don't do that. VALDUR is all about integrity. This is so very important to us. We despise 'hype' and 'gimmicks'. And if we live to an older age, everyone in VALDUR, past or present, can look back and know that we always kept our integrity in an otherwise sea of music mediocrity and industry bullshit."

VI. You released all of VALDUR albums under the auspices of your own label Bloody Mountain Records. Do you take such DIY approach as a solid part of your underground ethics, or would you be easy to cross the red line and work with some major labels on your future records?
"Well, BMR was really created out of necessity. None of the bigger labels would touch us. We probably weren't trendy and soft enough for them to sell a bunch of units$$$! Maybe we just seemed like a 'flash in the pan'...but here we are 15 years later!!? And we would be open to work with anyone! But they would need to understand that we don't compromise for others. This is our music and our lives, and that is what keeps it special."

VII. What are your prospects for VALDUR, where would you like to see the band standing on the judgement day?
"We will be just fine. We are just quiet mountain folk, living in the High Sierras and playing our music and minding our own business, ...playing shows from time to time and living a lawless lifestyle. In the short term, we will have a new album recorded sometime in the fall of 2016, and it is our intention to make the next one even more brutal and dirty than "Pathetic Scum"."

Thanks a lot for your answering the interview questions. And stay tough on the pathetic scum!
"Thank you!"



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