REVIEW: Valley Of Chrome – “Dark Horse” EP (2014)

Dark Horse EP front cover

Valley Of Chrome has been around for years so the idea of putting out an EP that compiles re-recorded versions of the band’s early material is a smart move on their part, especially now that this current incarnation of the band is probably their tightest yet.

The rhythm section consisting of bassist Jordan Constantino and drummer Paul Eusebio are as pummeling as ever while the dual-guitar attack of Tatel Marcelino and Kaloi Cambaliza is still something behold; it is the perfect marriage of sheer brutality and tastefulness. Vocalist Rogel Africa also seems to be at his peak condition vocally, nailing both the hardcore growls/screams and even the more melodic parts.

“Dark Horse” opens with the re-recorded version of “Vengeance Unleashed”, which is the first song that band ever wrote back in 1999. Clocking in at around 1 and half minutes, it’s a short burst of fury complete with heavy riffs and gang vocals. The song is a moshpit-worthy glimpse into the band’s hardcore roots. “Vengeance Unleashed” is followed by the epic one-two punch of “Cast No Shadow” and “Wound”, which are perfect examples of the “dueling guitar” sound that the band has been known for since the release of their album “Love and Devotion”.

The fourth track of the EP is a cover of Rumblebelly’s “Anino”. Rumblebelly, which is also guitarist Tatel Marcelino’s old band, is an old school metal band that was popular in the 90s. Valley Of Chrome also cites Rumblebelly as one of their biggest influences, hence the cover. This version of “Anino” is more than a worthy tribute, and the fact that they got Rumblebelly frontman Alvin Baes to contribute vocals makes it all the more sweeter. It is evil, it is brutal, and it kicks fucking ass.

“Anino” is followed by “The Plague” which sounds like classic Valley Of Chrome through and through. It proves why Valley Of Chrome is probably one of the most technically proficient metal bands around. Any self-respecting metal fan would gravitate towards this track because it has everything that made heavy metal so good in the first place. The last two tracks are dubstep remixes of the songs “Dagat Ng Apoy” and “Pangako”. While in our opinion they are the record’s weakest tracks, they do not take away from the record’s brilliant first half. Plus, they are good enough to actually fit contextually, so all’s well that ends well.

The “Dark Horse” EP is a record that marks a waypoint in Valley Of Chrome’s career. This is the band looking back and paying tribute to their roots, but you could clearly see what lies ahead in their future with this killer lineup. It’s a solid release that’s well-produced, and features some brilliant instrumentation. We highly recommend the “Dark Horse” EP not just to fans of Valley Of Chrome, but any fan of this particular style of metal.

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