Valerinne – Kunstformen Der Natur – 84%

Kunstformen der natur cover art

Valerinne are a 3 piece Drone/Shoegaze/Post-metal band from Bucharest, Romania. If memory serves me right this is the first Romanian band I’ve discovered from these genres. Despite being formed less than a year ago, they’ve already shared the stage with big name bands like Maybeshewill and Tides From Nebula. Their first full length ‘Kunstformen Der Natur’ saw release in October and is 46 minutes chalked full of shoegaze drone meets post-metal.

“Messier” starts things off with an upbeat blend of shoegaze styled guitar distortion and excellent drumming chops with perfectly timed cymbal crashes and high hat riding. There is a noticeable amount of drone to be found in Valerinne’s sound but not enough to overshadow the deep layering found within the song. “Mons” switches up the style with an absurdly thick distortion layer underneath layers of higher pitched flutters in a spacious feeling ambient track. While the song for the most part is much slower than it’s predecessor, it’s equally as loud and really picks up a head of steam towards the end. “Ins Meer” is a haunting track that gives off some really eerie vibes. It feels Valerinne shed their shoegaze¬† styling for this track and went with a more straight forward doomy post-metal track. Guitars become a little less thick and a little more vibrant. The song offers a glimpse at a more melodic side of the band that as more straight forward post-rock guitar layers began to take form underneath the heaviness that envelops the majority of the mix.

I think “Medusa” is the band’s best work on the album for what they’re trying to accomplish drone wise. At times the guitar work fee;s almost trance-like and when combine with drum beats that are hypnotic and just catchy as all hell, it’s no wonder this track is a clear winner. This track faintly reminds me of older Godflesh to a certain degree. That is one hell of a comparison and I have no problems saying that this one of the better post-metal/drone tracks I’ve ever heard. I will come clean and admit that I generally prefer cleaner and prettier post-rock to the heavier and more aggressive material, but that doesn’t mean I don’t crank up Jesu‘s self titled or Old Man Gloom from time to time.

The album comes to an end with “Aphelion/Perihelion“, the longest track by far at nearly 12 minutes and is definitely my favorite track on the album. This song is as straight forward post-rock as it gets and really opens up the sound stage with deep instrument separation and a feeling of openness. Beautiful clean guitars fly off in the distance as a distortion layer occupies the lower end of the mix. There is an obnoxiously large amount of cymbal/high hat riding to be found here but it can easily be overlooked. Comparing this track to the rest of the album is really almost a night in day comparison. In so many ways it feels like the four previous tracks were a build up to a grand finale, and what a glorious finish it is. This song feels like the band opening up and realizing their full potential. There are a few words I rarely use when reviewing music but this track is worthy of one of them. This track is as close to a masterpiece as it gets and I’d encourage anyone to check out this album based on this merit alone.

As a whole I feel that this album is tailored for fans who gravitate towards the drone side of the genre. I fear that the album could be a little too thick for post-rock fans, a little too slow for post-metal fans and the tracks could be a little too long for shoegaze fans. Still the album does offer something for everyone and is a strong showing from the Romanian natives. 11-27-12

Name your price on bandcamp: