Happy Groundhog Day!



Hey! I know I promised recently that we’d be getting back to reviews soon. That was before I spent the majority of January just getting caught up on listening to stuff from 2016 so that I could belatedly finalize my list of the year’s best releases! But that’s finally online now, and our first review of 2017 is scheduled to be published tomorrow. First, though, it’s time for another quick news update.

In this edition: charity donations at Bandcamp; tour news from Katatonia, Conan, and North; album release news from Ever Circling Wolves; plus more news about new videos and shows!

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FINNISH METAL: Hooded Menace (2015), Solothus (2016), Ever Circling Wolves (2017)


Hooded MenaceDarkness Drips Forth (Relapse Records, 30 October 2015)


No King Reigns Eternal lopullinen logon kanssa

SolothusNo King Reigns Eternal (Doomentia Records, 18 March 2016)



Ever Circling WolvesOf Woe or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gloom (record label and release date TBD Cimmerian Shade Recordings, 27 January 2017)


Last week, President Obama made headlines when he made a reference to Finnish heavy metal while speaking at a summit of visiting Nordic leaders.

In that same spirit, today we’re going to talk about a handful of bands from Suomen tasavalta, the Republic of Finland: Hooded Menace from Joensuu, Solothus from Turku and Helsinki, and Ever Circling Wolves, also from Helsinki.


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New Music Roundup: Dead Trooper, Auroch, Project Mars, Ever Circling Wolves

Hello out there on the other side of the computer screen! How are things where you are? Here, it was a pretty typical Monday. Back to work, feeling half-asleep all day long, struggling to do simple things like remember my network password…

Sounds like lots of fun, doesn’t it? Yeah, not so much. Times like this, it’s pretty tough to stay focused on anything for very long. So just to warn you, this will end up being a pretty disjointed post! I’ve been hearing about upcoming new music from a bunch of different places over the past few days, so basically I’ve assembled a collection of previews for you — some you can listen to, some you can watch, and some you can download.

There’s a pretty wide variety in this assortment of songs, so chances are, you’ll find something here that appeals to you. If you see/hear something you find interesting, let me know! It’s always nice to know what resonates with you, the reader, so I can be sure to put more effort into stuff like that. And if you don’t find anything you like here, then definitely let me know, and I’ll try harder next time!

Anyway, here we go…

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Out Last Month: Dreaming Dead – Midnightmares

Dreaming DeadMidnightmares (Self-released, 20 April 2012)

So it’s been about three weeks since Midnightmares, the new Dreaming Dead album was made available. As you may recall, I told you they were giving it away for free on the day it was released. Did you see that post, and did you take advantage of that offer? If you did, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below — I’d love to hear from you. If you missed it, though, I’m sorry — but you should totally consider taking advantage of subscribing to the Valley News email updates or RSS feed (see the relevant links somewhere on this page), or heading over to Facebook and “liking” the Valley of Steel page, because I’m always sharing information about freebies like that when I hear about them, and maybe next time you can be better informed!

In any case, if you haven’t had a chance to check out this lovely slice of progressive death-thrash yet, don’t worry — it might not be available to download for free any more, but you can still catch a stream of the album at the band’s website, and they’re also selling it in download, CD, and LP formats!

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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!

Just Released: Ever Circling Wolves – Chapter III

Ever Circling WolvesChapter III: In Which the Protagonist Finds Himself at the Bottom of the Ocean as well as in a Petrified Forest (December 2011, Dethroned Productions)

Well, believe it or not, Christmas is almost here. I know I can’t believe it, myself — these past several months have been so busy for me that they’ve just flown by. Often it seems that all the stuff that needs to be done exceeds the amount of time available in which to do it, which of course means there is actually less than zero time left over in which to do anything that I want to do. That sucks, and it’s made even worse by how short the days are (the only time I see a little bit of sunlight is on my way to the bus stop when I leave work in the afternoon — unless it’s raining or snowing, which is often the case). When you add all the stress and anxiety involved with the holiday season on top of everything else, it’s no wonder so many people go into a deep depression around this time. Clearly, we need something to shake off these dark feelings and bring joy and cheer back into our lives. I don’t know about you, but for me there is nothing that can turn my frown upside-down faster than some good ole DOOM METAL!!  The doomier it is, the better it makes me feel.  So I’ve scoured the world in search of something to cheer me up, and I’ve found just what the doctor ordered.  Three different doses of it, in fact, and so I will be sharing these over the next three days — just long enough to take us through Christmas eve.

The first stop on our global quest for euphoria is in Finland, where death-doom quartet Ever Circling Wolves have just released their third recording (an EP, appropriately titled Chapter III) on CD via Dethroned ProductionsContinue reading