July 26, 2019


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The Pitch: Bristol, UK progressive metal band Valis Ablaze lay down some groovy, djent tunes to clean vocals via Long Branch Records. FFO: Textures, Periphery, Tesseract

What I Like: When this band goes for it, the results speak for themselves. It was "Hollow Heart" in particular that led me to add Render to my review queue. Those guitar parts...breathtaking; especially that really bouncy hammer-on/pull-off section. The way in which the bright, shimmery leads align with the djenty rhythm and bass rivals many of my favorite songs in the genre.  And you gotta love that bass on "Infinite World." Funky AF. Valis Ablaze is certainly a band that stands tallest on its riffs, but Phil Owen's powerful clean vocals and catchy choruses aren't to be denied either. They at times give even Spencer Sotello a run for his money. Lots of promise to work with here.

Critiques: Unfortunately, for every high point, there are a number of duds. Tracks like "Keyframes," "Saturation," and "States Of Decay" are comparatively cold fish. I am all for including slower tracks, ballads, and even a bit of cheese...but these attempts just come off as boring. They still have a few standout moments thanks again to the excellent guitar and bass work (see about halfway through "States Of Decay"), but ultimately it's not enough for redemption. Sadly this inconsistency dragged down my rating quite a bit.

The Verdict: Render is ultimately a very mixed bag. Valis Ablaze's best songs are top tier material that can go hand to hand with the best of them, but everything else has me pretty checked out. Thankfully, the better material's showcase of each member's clear talent and passion bode well for the band's future. I am confident that with a little guidance and improvements in the songwriting department they'll knock it out of the park next time.

Flight's Fav's: Hollow Heart, Ascent, Elevation (feat. White Dove)

- Review by FlightOfIcarus

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