Their logo looks like it was designed by the same guy who did the ones for
Krokus and Manowar, and the five members of the band are all shirtless on the
cover. The track listing of the album reveals a prologue and two intermissions,
the former entitled “Civil Blood Makes Civil Hands Unclean,” the latter “Thesis
of Infinite Measure” and “Theme from 6th Grade Watercolor.”
Oh, yeah, and they claim to be from the future.
And also from Venus.
In fact, the band’s lead singer – whose name is conveniently the same as the
band’s – was quoted in the Charleston Post and Courier as saying, “We came to
this time stream in 1957 to try to convince Dwight Eisenhower that we are the
true sons of the morning star. We were sent here from the center of Venus to try
to convince the people of Earth to live vicariously through a purpose, to live a
life with a purpose. And that purpose is rock 'n' roll."
With all of that information to go on, I know what you’re thinking. Basically,
it pretty much has to kick ass...right?
You know, you’d think that. And the reason you’d think that is because
you just can’t imagine they’d be any more serious about what they do than, say,
Tenacious D. And, yet, the amount of humor here is surprisingly – and
disappointingly – negligible; Valient Thorr leave you with the impression that
they attended a Kiss concert during their formative years and, when Paul Stanley
let loose with his stage patter (example: “Hey, everybody, it’s Wednesday night,
but let’s pretend it’s Friday night! All RIGHT!”), they thought he was totally
He wasn’t, of course. And neither is Valient Thorr. But while the Darkness have
their tongues placed firmly in cheek, these guys, with their Iron Maiden / Van
Halen riffage and throat-shredding screamathons, rarely break character, and
that’s a real hindrance. It’s like listening to Spinal Tap’s “Hell Hole” without
knowing anything about the movie. If you aren’t aware it’s a joke, it’s not
clever; it’s just stupid. In fact, with a CD booklet containing no lyrics, the
only songs where listeners might have an inkling that they’re kidding are the
four tracks which make up the last third of the disc: “Hijackers,” “We Believe
In Science,” “Tough Customer,” and “Blow Up The Pyramid.” On that last track,
lead singer Valient actually screams, “All right! That’s what I’m talking about,
baby! Gimme a little bit of action!” It’s been almost twenty years since
anyone’s been able to utter anything like that without erupting into giggles
moments later, so, at the very least, he deserves kudos for succeeding on that
Valient Thorr reside in Chapel Hill, NC, these days (you’d be surprised how
receptive the Triangle is to Venusian expatriates) and are reportedly a live act
not to be missed; this isn’t terribly surprising to discover, as, in a concert
setting, I’d imagine you can’t take your eyes off of them. This disc, however,
isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is.