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Vhaldemar - 2003 I Made My Own Hell

Pedro J. Monge - guitars
Carlos Escudero - vocals, guitars
Oscar Cuadrado - bass, vocals
Edu Martinez - drums

Arise Records seem to be in the business this year of giving metal fans early Christmas presents. Case in point their three releases at the end of November - Vhaldemar, Axenstar and Dark Moor, each in their own way very good to excellent melodic metal albums. It has been a good year for Arise with other notable releases this year such as Red Wine and Steel Attack.

The Songs
From this latest batch of Arise releases, I firstly have the pleasure of tackling Vhaldemar. This Spanish quartet released a well received debut in 2002, and I'm sure this new release will do just the same. Not only are Vhaldemar a damn fine band but they've managed to get a huge sound, which helps to project their talent and the stack of massive songs on 'I Made My Own Hell'. The highlights start coming as early as the second track 'Breaking All The Rules', mixing slight Rhapsody-like guitar parts with Dream Evil melody. The twin lead guitar attack of Escudero and Monge come to the fore on the relentless 'No Return'. A great combination of power and passion. The exceptional moment is 'Dreamer', an At Vance style metal anthem with a huge chorus. The guitar work is pretty outstanding all-round. The David Defeis (Virgin Steele) style vocals of Escudero can be a touch abrasive, but that's a minor issue. And on that note, there's definitely a bit of Virgin Steele in Vhaldemar's sound as well.

In Summary
Though Spain may have just lost the Davis Cup Tennis, they have had a number of victories on the melodic metal circuit this year with Red Wine, Tierra Santa and now the brilliant Vhaldemar. Apart from a couple of iffy moments on the slower tracks, which expose Escudero's accent and pronunciation, 'I Made My Own Hell' is a high class slab of melodic metal.

Track Listing:
01 I Made My Own Hell
02 Breaking All The Rules
03 No Return
04 Steam-Roller
05 Old King's Visions (Part II)
06 Mystery
07 House Of War
08 Moonlight
09 Dreamer
10 Death Comes Tonight
11 I Will Rise My Fist
12 March Of Dooms

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