Happy (Belated) New Year!


* Happy National Day (for those who live on the island of Menorca)!


* Happy Feast Day of Saint Achilles the Confessor (for those who follow the Eastern Orthodox Church)!


* Happy Birthday to Benjamin Franklin “The Guy on the Hundred Dollar Bill,” James Earl Jones “The Voice of Darth Vader,” comedian Andy Kaufman, bassist Andy Rourke, boxer Muhammad Ali, actress Betty White, FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and singer Eartha Kitt!


* Let’s also commemorate the passing of music producer Don Kirshner, chess player Bobby Fisher, and former U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes!


If you can’t tell, I’m sort of reaching here, for any sort of a special occasion or commemoration to celebrate today. Since we’re now so long past the beginning of the year, I feel stupid saying “Happy New Year!” to you. But 2013 is still relatively new (and the majority of it is still yet to come), so I guess it really doesn’t hurt to still wish you a happy one.
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Happy New Year!

Horns Up!

Happy New Year from everyone at Valley of Steel!

All the major holidays that comprise the “holiday season” have now come and gone, and life is starting to return to some sort of normalcy.  So I just wanted to throw this post out there to say hello to you, my Dear Loyal Reader, and to take a moment (as people so often do at this time of year) to look back and look ahead.

First of all, I’d like to reflect on the series of posts that were supposed to have been scheduled for the three days preceding Christmas Eve.  I screwed up, not correctly figuring out how to use the new version of the WordPress mobile app.  So unfortunately, the last two did not go live until well past Christmas.  Because they were actually published after the publication date listed, I’m not actually sure if the notifications were even sent out to those of you who are subscribed to the Valley Updates.  So in case any of these got lost in the shuffle, here is the whole three-part series on pre-Christmas doom metal:

Ever Circling WolvesChapter III EP review

Bell WitchBell Witch Demo 2011 review

(drama)Zastor Tišine review

Moving on from there, it’s now January, and this is typically considered a time of both reflection and renewal.  In the near future, you can expect more reviews and news, but there will be some new and different things popping up as well.  For example, I’m working on a couple of interviews right now, and possibly more to come after that; a brand-new periodic feature will be premiering soon, which spotlights unsigned and relatively unknown bands; and on top of all that, I’ve got a couple things written for publication elsewhere.  Suggestions of new topics or material for reviewing are always welcomed; please contact me if you are a band/label/promoter that would like my profound insights on something you are releasing or have released; also, don’t be afraid to leave some comments on this or any of the posts you read here, as I am always interested in what you have to say as well!

As always, please feel free to hit the “Click to Follow” button to receive Valley Updates via email, and don’t forget to “like” the Facebook page to keep informed that way, too!  And don’t be shy, share the blog or the Facebook with anyone you know who likes heavy music and knows how to read.

Thanks for all your support and again, have a happy new year!

Now Available for Pre-Order: (drama) – Zastor Tišine

(drama) Zastor Tišine (Altsphere Production, 24 February 2012)


Fuck me, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open.  I’ve probably had about five cups of coffee today, but still, here I sit staring at this computer screen and it keeps going out of focus.  Why does the last day of work before a break– especially a nice, long holiday weekend– always seem to drag on forever?  Not that things will get any better when I leave here; I am completely dreading the fact that later tonight, and probably much of tomorrow as well, I will have to venture out into the world of holiday shopping!  Suffering through the world’s worst drivers (they always seem to come out in hordes this time of year, don’t they?) to struggle to find a place to park; pushing through huge crowds of horribly annoying people to get the chance to spend money I can’t really afford on a bunch of crap that my family members don’t really need anyhow… it’s enough to seriously bring on an anxiety attack just thinking about it!

Of course, that’s why the past few days I have been cheering myself (and hopefully some of you out there in internet-land, as well) with great big heaps of awesomely depressive doom metal.  Today’s post will complete the trilogy I described earlier (part I | part II), as we voyage to Croatia to check out the debut LP of a band from Zagreb called (drama), which is entitled Zastor Tišine (Croatian for The Curtain [or Shroud] of Silence).

Following a 2006 demo, the band actually recorded this full-length back in 2010 and made it available through various digital outlets earlier this year.  I can’t remember, now, where I first became aware of them, but I know I heard one of their songs somewhere; I enjoyed it enough to be willing to put in the effort necessary to track down more info about the band– which was no small task!  You try Googling the word “drama” – with or without the parentheses, it makes no difference – and see how easy it is to wade through the billions of results!  (By the way, for your benefit I’ve included a list of links at the bottom of this post, so you can have a much easier time learning more about the band and keeping informed about them.  You’re welcome.) Continue reading