“You walked away from the dry desert wind. Away from the hot plains where the nephilim tow with your uncle, and into the sweetly odoured forestlands of your youth. Dry drops of dew line the beautiful brown bark of the trees, that mark your undefined path into the forest; like seductive male torsos they arise, muscular and carved out. Like statues in bronze, masterly crafted by the Creator-God.
Serpentine dryads, in the shape of your childhood girlfriends sweet and brittle, crawl around your legs and crave your loins. You let them enter, thinking: “Truly, innocence is of complex nature.” In the end, you don’t know any better and as unity is achieved, you raise your hands towards the stars – try it, raise them now, and spread your fingers. Plant your foots firmly into the soil, for the wind will try to shake you. Now, you’ve made it; you’ve come home; you’ve gone, arborescent.”
Welcome, my friend, to the wonderful world that Valerinne have birthed us on their sophomore album, a world that I discovered on the same day I met Pray For Sound. Both bands are worlds apart, but of course I had to check out a band that named its debut album after Ernst Haeckel’s “Kunstformen der Natur”.
RELEASE DATE: 14 December 2013 LABEL: Independent
Right off the bat, the pearly tones of “Golden Hour/Blue Hour” coquet your inner ear and you’re off on a journey with our excellent Hungarian helmsmen. In the beginning it almost sounds as if an early incarnation of U2 went post-rockin’, yet as the ten-odd-minute long epics start to unravel, Valerinne prove they have little to do with anything the famous Dubliners ever did.
“Atonement” and the aforementioned “Golden Hour/Blue Hour” make me go back to the Jura mountains in France, where I spent a few winter weeks with my family. We lodged in a small house with thick walls, far away from any road or city, and we would spent the evenings sitting together in front of the fire place, sipping wine and eating cheese. One morning we went down into the valley where found a small river that fervently seeking its way down the mountain. We were in the middle of the forest and everything was covered in a thick layer of dew-drenched moss. The air just breathes magic and I – filled with awe and inspiration – waxed lyrical.
With this album, Valerinne make me visit that place again and inspire within me that same excitement. Arborescent has such an incredible ability to let my mind wonder, it makes me afraid of ever using the word picturesque again. “Étoile de Mer” is spot on, even though the cymbals on the drum sound a bit thin to fully emulate the crashing of waves. In the end, such small perfections don’t even matter, because every time I play the album I’m enveloped in yet another metaphor or yet another story, transforming my thoughts into a sonic wilderness of words.
It’s in that same wilderness where Valerinne make me loose my way. In the forest of guitars, individual riffs start to blend and superimpose, reminiscing somewhat the sound experiments of Joe Grimm and Glen Branca. One moment I’m walking around, awake, and hearing its sounds very clearly, the next moment I’ve become like a tree and the only thing I perceive is the echoing sound of growing roots and branches.
More than often Valerinne sound really overwhelming. The guitars are full and bombastic, and the drums and bass that hold steady throughout the album are not able to help the listener contain all that violence. Arborescent is not an album that is suitable for just a casual listen. You need to prepare your body for it, lie down and say: “I’m ready. Pick me up and transform my life.”
WATCH: VALERINNE – HYSTEREMA [OFFICIAL VIDEO]