Koen S. : For some reason I have always had a thing for Valkyrja. In 2007 I took a shot in the dark buying their 'The Invocation Of Demise' and ever since I have had blind faith in the skills of this Swedish black metal band, even though they have always had problems to maintain a steady lineup. Five years after their last album 'The Antagonist's Fire', Valkyrja is back with yet another new lineup to introduce their fourth record 'Throne Ablaze' to the world. Drummer Jocke Wallgren is a full time member behind the drumkit of Amon Amarth since 2016 and singer Andreas Lind, who previously did the vocals on all Valkyrja’s releases is also disappeared from the scene. Between 2016 and 2018 Rogier Droog aka RSDX of Weltbrand was their singer for a while but in the end main man and guitarist S. Wizén did the vocals for the new album.
Valkyrja still plays furious black metal with a melodic edge. Watain on LSD, you might say, although they also managed to create an atmosphere that crawls under your skin on some songs. That overwhelming mood breathes darkness and rottenness. It is nasty and misanthropic. You can almost taste the depravity. You could compare it with Surströmming, the smelly fermented canned herring. Valkyrja's black metal is as Swedish as Ikea, and equally original, but the execution is very tight. The vocals of S. Wizén, with reverb, certainly sound equally good as those of A. Lind on the previous albums and the guitar work is undeniably the best since their debut. The two former singers also did a guest contribution on 'Throne Ablaze': Andreas Lind did the additional vocals on 'Transcendental Death' and RSDX wrote the lyrics for the catchy 'Crowned Serpent'.
‘Throne Ablaze’ was, like all previous albums, recorded at Necromorbus Studio with Tore Stjerna. Valkyrja just has the misfortune that Sweden produced some real pearls this year, like Spirit Crusher by Dödsrit, Väsen by Grá and White Noise And Black Metal by Craft, but in their respective subgenre they (almost) do not have to bow to no man (Funeral Mist!), not even for the latest of Watain.