Marius Danielsen’s Legend of Valley Doom - Legend Of Valley Doom, Part II - (9/10)
Published on January 6, 2019
If you don’t believe, then you can just leave!
You listening, Timo Tolkki? This is how you do it! None of that ‘Avalon’ bollocks… Norwegian family duo Marius & Peter Danielsen combined their admirable talents to create the mythical Legend Of Valley Doom back in 2015. The power metal community breathed a collective sigh of relief when it turned out it wasn’t shit (as these major projects so often are). That same community are now cheering in jubilation at the sequel to that immense LP: Legend Of Valley Doom, Part II. Equally as immense, and surpassing anything achieved by Rhapsody Of Fire in the past half a decade, this album is a monolith of high-quality symphonic power metal which displays supreme skills in songwriting, storytelling and musical virtuosity. Buckle up, this is quite a journey…
Using the Rhapsody comparison again, one should not approach this imagining Power Of The Dragonflame – Part II. Marius Danielsen’s new album does not fire on all cylinders with a thousand tons of dragonfire. It is more akin to 2005’s Symphony Of Enchanted Lands – Part II, where grand orchestrations, interludes and narrations take the forefront. This is by no means a criticism (S.O.E.L. 2 is actually my favourite Rhapsody album), it only displays Danielsen’s determination to stick to his guns and make this vision his own. The more hardened listeners will complain that there are too many ‘soft’ numbers, but when the ‘soft’ numbers are as tender as “Gates Of Eunomia”, or as breathtakingly gorgeous as “Under The Silver Moon”, then what is there to complain about, apart from being close-minded?
The interlude tracks, too, not only have their place but are essential to the storytelling aspect of the record. Keeping up with the Tolkien-esque narrative is a fun activity in itself and adds an extra dimension to each listen. I especially love the Elven king (Olaf Hayer!) being a total dick to the main characters in “Princess Lariana’s Forest”. This is not to say Legend… doesn’t blaze away with true European power metal majesty. Oh boy, when the time is right, Danielsen absolutely rips through the speakers with such belters as “Rise Of The Dark Empire”, “Temple Of The Ancient Gods” and “Visions Of The Night” which display furious double-kick attacks, blazing fretwork and hooks catchier than the plague. Of the up-tempo vibrant numbers, the glorious “Angel Of Light” is a delightful highlight. Showcasing the great Michael Kiske at the peak of his abilities, it’s a soaring power metal hymn for the ages!
The multi-faceted gems like “Crystal Mountains” and the bard-like folk epic “Tower Of Knowledge” are where the variety of this record will attract the more open-minded. Exploring many emotions from crawling menace to anthemic glory. The massive guest-list (with the likes of Steve Williams, Alessio Garavello, Tim Ripper Owens and Olaf Hayer) gives this a party-like, almost Avantasia-esque vibe – though I do think Ripper was underused, and some of the vocalists are a tiny bit dodgy. Any minor gripes fall under the ‘bloated’ category – where a small part of my brain thinks this could have been a few minutes shorter overall. But if one simply sits back and absorbs themselves in the cheesy atmosphere of this epic, Marius Danielsen’s Legend Of Valley Doom, Part II will whet the appetite of many. Applause to you, my friend! Can’t wait for the next one.