Válvera – Cycle of Disaster Review

Sometimes you just have to go with what you know. I was initially slated to cover some Swedish black metal for this week, but I’ve intuited a certain truism about myself: I don’t always cover black metal, but when I do, I give it a 4.5. Add to this the fact that my available listening time has been slashed to bits due to the coronavirus forcing me to take on a new position as a full-time, unpaid childcare professional/teacher, and I just felt it was best if I settled for a promo that was a little more in my wheelhouse. Brazilian thrash from Brutal Records? Now we’re talking. I could produce a poorly written Brazilian thrash review in my sleep.1 So let’s check out the third album from São Paulo’s Válvera entitled Cycle of Disaster. After the last four years, I honestly can’t hear that last word without hearing this. I wonder if the Donald likes thrash?

Of course Sepultura comes to mind when discussing thrash metal that originates in the giantest country in the Down Under of the Americas. But besides a general affinity for the creation of pleasing riffs, there are not a whole lot of similarities between Vãlvera and their famous countrymates. Vocalist Glauber Barreto opts for an Anselmoian shout much of the time, and when combined with the deceptively complex riff style that he and fellow guitarist Rodrigo Torres employ, it results in Cycle of Disaster comfortably straddling the line between thrash and groove metal. Opener “Nothing Left to Burn” begins with a bass-laden buildup of subdued chords and leads before launching into the Slayer-meets-Megadeth-meets-Pantera sound that represents Válvera at their very best. The title track comes next, its mid-paced attack deploying a touch of Slipknot nü-groove, and the embedded “Glow of Death” represents the closest thing to the tribal rhythms of Sepultura, rounding out a killer three-hit combo to start the album.

The rest of the album sees the band alternating between this same furious thrash formula and a more polished punk rock/metal approach. “All Systems Fall,” “O.S. 1977,” and “Bringer of Evil” bring more of the Megadeth vibe to the table, solidifying Mustaine and Co. as the primary stylistic influence to these ears. But a few tracks go with a divergent approach, dialing down the speed and adding punk singing and melodic guitar lines to the band’s groove metal. After the three track salvo that kickstarts the record, “The Damn Colony” and it’s sing-along chorus seems a little out of place. “Born on a Dead Planet” and “Fight For Your Life” are decent tracks that are both marred by questionable choruses, the former including flat background vocals and the latter sounding like an early 2000’s radio rock song. The disparate styles of these three songs just really throw off the momentum generated by the record’s stronger material.

The production is modern and loud, but it captures Válvera’s style(s) pretty well. Other than the flat vocals on “Born on a Dead Planet,” everything here is good, but the more melodic songs and their singing really create an oil and water situation for Cycle of Disaster. Válvera has a solid thrash sound, but when a third of the album feels drastically different, it leaves me with the feeling that the band is still trying to cement their identity. If you liked the hardcore-meets-classic metal of Ash Return’s release from this year, check out “The Damn Colony,” but if, like me, you’re here for the thrash, I’d recommend “Nothing Left to Burn,” “Cycle of Disaster,” “Glow of Death,” and “Bringer of Evil.”

Cycle of Disaster gives us a picture of a band with two sounds and one future. Válvera can go the punk-tinged metal/radio rock route, or forge ahead with their Megadeth-with-Phil Anselmo thrash style. You shouldn’t have to guess which one I’ll be rooting for.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Brutal Records
Websites: valvera.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/bandavalvera
Releases Worldwide: August 28th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. I assumed this was how you produced all your reviews. – Steel
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