Valefor’s earlier appearance on the Passages from the Dark Side split didn’t leave me wholly convinced but I was still enough eager (and completist) to look into After the Sad Hours, a new demo of depressive black metal and doom metal combined, unleashed in early March.
And I’m afraid that nothing has truly changed: after the mournful clean guitar intro ”Nowhere”, the title track begins with a slow and a moment later highly distorted guitar picking and soon after the drum machine kicks in with the dooming, slow beats that perhaps nod to Forgotten Tomb’s direction. The drum machine is a little cheap for sure, but luckily the low-speed style makes it tolerable. Vocals are once again delivered in the vein of Mortualia’s debut and Heartless, in practice meaning very high-pitched wailing with no rasp. This might turn off some but I find it enough fitting, and at least it’s not the most common style used.
All the three black/doom metal songs of After the Sad Hours wander in the very same, despondent and hopeless spirit, making the demo atmospherically a success in what it’s supposed to evoke, but otherwise quite a stagnant whole of absolutely nothing surprising; a whole where it’s musically hard to differentiate the tracks. ”The Embrace the Pain” provides the best moments on the album, daring to go to some rather fast sections in its almost 9-minute running time. ”Helpess Souls” is similar to the intro, being an interlude of mere clean guitar, and then there’s the doomiest ”No Place for Hope” that ends the demo finely but predictably.
In a nutshell, After the Sad Hours is a general (generic?) piece of depressive black metal which might appeal to the most hardcore followers of the subgenre, but for others it is a lackluster 32 minutes. I incline toward the latter people even if I see some potential in there, if only he would come up with something more original next time.