By: Rebekah Weaver
After the tragic loss of their late vocalist, Mikey Clement, metalcore group, Valley’s, comes out on top with their newest release, Fearless. Being their first release on Tragic Hero Records, the North Carolina band brings attention to the struggles of loss, addiction, personal demons, and fear of change; delivering a message of perseverance & hope by hitting listeners with honest truths.
Vocalist Jayson Mitchell starts off this record straight to the point with instant captivation, quickly followed by heavy instrumentals in The Tower of Babel. They wasted no time and went straight into a banger with bouncy riffs & catchy melodies, which is a theme that carries throughout the entirety of this album.
Coming from someone who had never heard of these guys, this album was a great introduction to their heavy sound and hard-hitting lyrics, which was something that instantly pulled me in. During a time where many metal bands have started going more towards a softer/hard rock direction, Valley’s wasn’t afraid to stick to their original slap in the face sound; while also throwing in some emotional, ballad-like instrumental pieces, featured in the tracks Break & Closure.
The first song to really grab my attention lyrically was the third track, Opiate. The title alone is intriguing enough, and I was blown away by how well they explained the subject matter while matching the feeling throughout chaotic instrumentals. Listening to this song made me feel like I was in the back & forth of a vicious cycle, and turning that feeling into something tangible was done so beautifully.
Reflections is the sixth track on this twelve-piece record, making it the center of the album. This song alone stood out to me, due to it being the first slower track I had heard yet. The first five tracks were very high-energy and evoked such passionate emotions, then Reflections comes in and captures more of the somber feeling that comes with loss, and brings back the heaviness with more of a hopeful ending.
The next track, Break, is a quick interlude that brings us right back into the heaviness with Fragile Minds, featuring Garrett Russel of Silent Planet. Russel’s very distinctive vocals were the perfect match for this passionate piece. The thing I admire the most about this album is the raw emotion they captured throughout every element of the band and each instrument alone; whether it was through heavy instrumentals, prominent drumming, passionate screams, beautiful melodies, or captivating riffs, this song was the one that really put all of those elements together.
Overall, this album was a captivating experience that took me through the ups & downs we face while persevering. The title track really summed up their message of being fearless while enduring life’s struggles and encourages listeners to overcome.