The rotten sludge unleashed by this Alaskan trio is strangely uplifting. From the opening moments of the opening title track, Valtiel’s sweet disease blossoms in your flesh, the perfume of misery fragrant in the icy Anchorage air. And, for a while at least, everything makes sense as you are carried for nine minutes in the arms of The Riff.
The EP’s middle track, ‘Ignis Fatuus’, is comparatively unobtrusive, gently raging enough to merely ripple the waters of the soul. Entertaining and inventive, if not quite captivating.
Finally, ‘The Cult Of Valtiel’ is a snarling and bombastic (and possibly self-aggrandising) sludgy foray that threatens to get a little monotonous before veering off at its halfway point down a dark path of doom and gloom.
As a debut release, ‘The Druid’ is impressive. It begins magnificently, leading the listener confidently on a path through life’s bleak wilderness. But it ends rather innocuously, seeming to run out of fuel before reaching its ultimate destination.