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The Valley: Obelisk

A release that manages to convey original compositions set against a saturated scene.

7 Aug 2017 / Opinion, Review / written by Stian Maritz

The Valley’s first six track release “Obelisk” falls broadly under the ‘70s psych rock umbrella. More specifically the band’s genre is stated as being “Desert Doom” and aptly so. Reverb is slathered over the guitars for desert rock feel while the apocalyptic themes and sinister chord choice have a decided air of doom about them. They rumble through seven spacious tracks that evoke their era with astounding believability.

‘Revelation’ is a moody opener plunges you straight into the end of days. They conjure the descent of angels with sizzling guitar and rubbery bass lines in one of the most effective psych rock combinations I’ve ever heard. There’s a spirit of invention to it, one that continues with ‘Basilisk’. Anton Louw’s guitar work is otherworldy, a more psych version of Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello. It crackles, phases and moans in a myriad of original ways that makes each track a fascinating sonic experience.

The Valley leaves plenty of breathing room on “Obelisk” that lets you soak up its spongy ambient goodness. The omnipresent reverb has a feel I’m coining as “psychedelic disco sex cavern” and it permeates every corner of your headphones. It’s seriously vibey stuff, especially on lumbering instrumental ‘Cave’.

With the galloping rhythm of ‘Hammerhead’ you can feel that ‘70s influence yet again. Led Zeppelin perfected the rock ‘n’ roll rumble and The Valley have learned from the masters well. The majority of the EP glorifies mid-range tempos and expansive song structure that does well in breaking free from convention.

Louw sings like a man in a trance, often employing ominous imagery in his lyrics. He sings “Dig deeper, dig deeper down/I promise you’ll find your lucky charm” in ‘Twist The Knife’ and as much as it is singing, it’s storytelling as well. This fits like the final piece of the puzzle in making a complete, authentic rock album.

The fact that The Valley manages to conjure a sound unique to themselves in a deeply saturated market is an achievement in and of itself. Beyond that, the music is highly entertaining and structured creatively, making it a must for fans of the genre. This band is definitely going places.

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Listen to “Oblisk” below.