|Cover art by Hal Rotter / Rotting Graphics|
Frederick, MD's Dweller in the Valley have conjured up a pretty fancy name. It's got a mysterious angle to it and lends itself to images of big skies, gorgeous vistas and other peaceful, serene thoughts. They even bookend this Younger Dryas EP with the sounds of meditation bowls. At least that's what it sounds like.
But between those peaceful moments things are anything but serene. "Welcome to Hell" growls drummer/vocalist Dane Olds on "Mire". That's right. Olds pulls the old Chris Reifert and handles vocals from behind the kit. Neither the vocals or the percussion suffer though. Both are vicious and plentiful. In front of him are guitarist Mike Merriam and bassist Nate McDyer. Together the trio blast through four tracks of absolute savagery.
Feedback rises on "The Shedding" into flaying black metal riffage. They've got a choppy edge but also a touch of groove. Olds' throaty screech matches the rawness that makes up the EP's general tone. The searing track moves without haste as if the thought of stillness is heresy. Blood boils and neurons fire at maximum capacity and then descend to a cooler tempo surrounded by darkness.
The slow-fast dynamic appears again on "Mire" but this time with more extremity. Deathly growls and necrotic shrieks dictate the slitting of throats with razor-edged riffs before a funereal force envelopes the scene.
A dust bowl guitar explodes into a raging vortex of hatred and pain on "Serpent Bearer". The ghastly and ghostly track rumbles and gallops, drowns the listener in darkness and soars beyond the clouds.
Saving the most devastating for last, "Eye of the Ram" closes out the EP. A dirge intro drops the listener into a breakneck swirling vortex of needling and unsettling rhythms. It's abrasive and unrelenting in breaking the will. Burying itself beneath the skin, it causes the urge to tear flesh from bones in futile attempts to end the madness.
Younger Dryas is raucous and raw, belligerent and blackened beyond saving. Dweller in the Valley play with a driving energy that's impossible to ignore. All facets of their blackened death metal gleam in their own way despite their light swallowing qualities. Dweller in the Valley are already a potent force and could very well establish themselves as a name to be remembered in the American black metal scene.
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