Article By: Brian Halsey ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
All of my life, I’ve been on a spirit quest. I’ve fled intense heat in the rivers of the Grand Canyon and felt the sting from the arctic wind on my face, atop the mountains of Norway. Relentlessly, I have sought to find an answer to the riddle of steel.
In the Iron and Steel City of Pittsburgh, during the inaugural commencement for Descendants of Crom on September 30th, I was promised answers to the questions that left my soul incomplete.
Descendants of Crom was a one-day festival of heavy music, good beer, and great vibes. Alternating A and B stages in the upstairs and downstairs of the venue kept the music flowing without interruption. I could go easily go on a tangent about how each band played like they were hell-bent on outdoing the previous act, but that’s an entirely different discussion. This was about solace*.
I’d heard rumors of how hard Valkyrie was going to shred. I didn’t dismiss them, but I was certainly skeptical. Probably because I’m a pompous jackass and assume anything that has missed my radar can’t possibly fall into the realm of greatness. I was so wrong.
Valkyrie unleashed what was undoubtedly the most face-melting, riff-wielding, guitar attack I have ever witnessed in my entire life. There is really no way to properly articulate what transpired on stage. Any metal band worth their salt needs a mean axe, but this was another dimension. An epic display of guitar mastery, backed by the meat of a finely tuned band, is about as right as I think I can get it. Bass, drums, and vocals are all in solid working order on this beast, but it doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on here.
This band is set up to be a guitar powerhouse. Soaring melodies and ripping solos in endless succession. Song after song, Jake and Pete Adams were dueling like it was a fight to the death. A blaze of electric glory, that you would have to see to believe.
There is a scene in Conan the Barbarian, where Conan is face to face with Thulsa Doom, the evil wizard who slaughtered Conan’s parents. Doom tries to explain that flesh is stronger than steel and to prove his point, telepathically coerces a young woman to commit suicide. In short, Conan retaliates by pulling out a massive steel sword and decapitating the fuck out of Thulsa Doom to honor his god, Crom. It all makes so much sense now.
*The word ‘solace’, not the band, who coincidentally also happened to play at Descendants of Crom.
Descendants of Crom will be a two-day event in 2018. Experience it with us, find info [here]. Photos from Valkyrie’s set are below.
[My attempts to photograph Valkyrie’s set at Descendants of Crom 9/30/2017. – Leanne]