Monday, July 22, 2013

Valensorow's Maiden Voyage, as remembered by Slamby pt. 6: The End

Clan Valensorow, tired, drained, and some humiliated, arose from their drunken delirium and set out for home. The last goodbyes to our humble hosts was more difficult than expected, mostly because of the debilitating hangover. Fear not, Colorado natives and friends of Valensorow, for we shall return shortly (we have confirmed September 27th in Denver at the Seventh Circle Music Collective and many more to come)!

Back on the road, we seemed to sail pretty smoothly through the first leg of the trip. We smiled and waved as we passed through Wyoming, debating intensely on where specifically our van broke down. We stopped at a Sonic fast food joint, a place many of us had never had the pleasure of enjoying. Of all people, Noah was most excited to enjoy their delicious beverages (I swear, I know my drinks, and I believe that their Ocean Water tastes like an Adios Motherfucker, just without the booze). Wuldor wasn't doing so well, and that was most clear as he took the wheel for the evening shift. We let him rest during the day in order to let his inner gargoyle come alive for the everlasting drive. Stopping for fuel just outside of Salt Lake City, we were stopped by a local who noticed Wuldor's kilt and Bathory shirt, noting that this rag-tag crew rolling out of a beat up van HAD to be a band on tour. He was, indeed, a fellow metalhead, vocalist for the band Visigoth! We began discussing life on the road, local bands, and all the finer points of metal (“which genre does this band fit in?”) before cutting it short due to the time. With too many Red Bulls, Monsters, and Redlines for a group of rockstars-in-training, we set out once more for the night road.

Funny things happen to those who stay awake far too long. By simply not allowing ones body and mind to rest, you may encounter certain beings that normally one will not notice. Shadows take life, voices laugh at you, all while traveling down a path into utter darkness. I could have sworn we ran over several demons on our journey into Nevada, and once there the endless desert becomes a nightmarish wasteland completely void of natural life and color. If we didn't have Bruce Dickenson's voice guiding us out of madness, I fear we may have never returned...or just not on time. We stopped to rest for a moment at a gas station, allowing the sun to rise past the horizon, for looking directly into the sun is not the most pleasant of tasks in the early morning. It seemed to be only a few tosses and turns later, then we arrived at the California border. Home was so near, I can almost smell the dirty dishes and rotting food we left in the fridge!

Tommy Noble back at the helm meant the boat's crew rearranged themselves for further comfort. Three hundred miles sounded so pleasing, maybe a quick nap would do the trick. I very vividly remember passing through Yolo County, a land where clearly people understand my [past life]style. It lacked some of the glamor I would have expected, I thought maybe I would have heard Suicide Silence playing everywhere or maybe seen some more strip clubs, but that's just my personal understanding of “yolo”.

Spirits began soaring as we all noticed signs saying “San Jose”. That was likely the happiest I have seen these gentlemen to look at a sign for a concrete jungle...and just as they started feeling better a driver cuts them off on the freeway and stops their car. Things I didn't miss while in any other state: California drivers. Rather be in Laramie, that's for sure. As we arrive at the studio, I heard Vince Neil's voice announcing our arrival; “tonight, tonight, I'm on my way. I'm on my wa-a-ay, home sweet home!” Furiously (both quickly and with aggression), we unpacked the van, separated our belongings, took a picture, and loaded up back in the van to drop everyone off. It felt like summer camp all over again, except without the false promises and regretful hookups.

Phew...that was a long journey. It was less than a week, but three thousand miles of driving, obscene amounts of alcohol, ridiculous victories and failures, and golf (yes, golf) can weary even the most energetic warrior. With this quote from an upcoming song, “The Wanderer”, I bid thee farewell..for now...

“And so the tale goes the Wanderer came to be,
from smoke and embers he was born, we know not what he sees.
Tall and slender, dressed in black, his shrouded gaze perceives
the sorrow and hope that lays within the fallen, crumbling leaves.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Valensorow's Maiden Voyage, as remembered by Slamby pt. 5: Can't, or Won't?

With the land boat loaded, Valensorow set off to the house of Dr. Bruce's good friend. He was set to get married, so we decided to celebrate with him! Oh how wonderful love and marriage is! It's beautiful, finding that one special person whose hair you will hold for eternity, that one special person you will let see all your flaws and rolls, and how happy this couple seemed as the wife-to-be left her lover with us for the day. As we took a sacred vow of silence, I will only mention a few events that we experienced, yet none that will incriminate anyone.

The morning came and we awoke on the floor, and being from California my entire life it was such a treat to see this sunrise. Moans and groans aside, waking up in those mountains and looking at the natural beauty was as uplifting as the air crisp and clean (again, compared to LA, anything is clean). Breakfast was a feast prepared by our most gracious host and companions. I was lucky enough to grab some bacon and sausage before it was devoured, the Clan seemed quite famished from their journey and the meat was their primary focus. After we dined, we set off for the Patty Jewett Golf Course. On arrival, we split up in different groups; some hit the course, others the driving range, and the remainders hit the bar.

Interesting history: the golf course was originally owned by the Jewett family, long-lost ancestors of Wuldor. The course was donated to the city of Colorado Springs, yet if the city ever has to get rid of it, the course will go instantly back to the closest relative in the Jewett line. As Wuldor's father explained, those Jewett's are of a different class than the Blaakharts, so there is very little chance ever that Wuldor could have his own golf course. But...just imagine...driving around on golf carts outfitted like pirate ships, with a giant sign above the entrance, “Captain Wuldor Blaakhart Golf Course: No Polos Permitted.”

Afterwards, we dined at a local steakhouse. That is all I should say about that. We did NOT try to get bottle service, we did NOT make a scene, and we did NOT order countless sangrias. They did, however, run out of glasses while serving us, that I can tell you. That was embarrassing, clearly they were not prepared. We also split up again and I had the pleasure of getting lost in a liquor warehouse. Over ninety fridges of beer, rows of peppermint schnapps, and then Ferret purchased what I did not expect to ever see: bacon beer. As a deer, I feel a little awful admitting my love of bacon, and I do enjoy beer, so the combination is an amazing idea. In reality, I felt like I was drinking a stout made from pig fat. Intriguing, but not worth repeating.

It should be public knowledge that in the course of the night, we managed to create a beer pong table where I challenged Tommy Noble to a match of beer pong. His partner was a local, my partner Wuldor. Let it be known that Slamby, an alcoholic dead deer head, is better at beer pong than the Clan's most noble of vocalists. Shortly thereafter, I fell into a deep sleep while listening to "I Fink You Freeky" by Die Antwoord.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Valensorow's Maiden Voyage, as remembered by Slamby pt. 4 : Waging the War at the Black Sheep

The road from Wyoming was beautiful this fine summer day! We took some advice and drove a more scenic route (and supposedly more speedy, we were cutting it a hair too close for comfort), and before long we were passing through rolling mountains with fields of green too breathtaking to capture accurately on camera. We felt significantly more folk metal by just existing there, and it only got more intense while entering Colorado. The route lead us through Fort Collins and before long we hit traffic outside of Denver. Oh, how I did not miss traffic! It was hardly as bad as traffic in Los Angeles but realistically, I would prefer surviving the rest of my non-living existence without being stuck looking at a bumper that seems to lead you like a carrot on a stick...a very slow, disgusting carrot...oh, how we missed the simplicity of Laramie!

Load in was at 6pm, and it was starting to look like we might be late, but by this point we had been through enough that we, to be rather blunt, just didn't care. Well, we care, but we knew that load-in is always well before the show actually starts, so we simply brushed the stress right off our shoulders and let Captain Wuldor Blaakhart lead us to Colorado Springs. Before we got there, we had a brief glimpse into the horror that was the wildfire destroying homes and lives in the Black Forest. A tall, dark cloud of smoke was in the distance above the pines, and having heard the stories through friends in the area, we hoped that the rescue team could help anyone and everyone who was losing everything they owned. “The Black Forest Burns Red” sounds like an amazing black metal album though.

And there it was. “Colorado Springs City Limit.” The Black Sheep was so close, and we all began feeling anticipation, excitement, and anxiety as we approached. Running off of very little sleep, poor nourishment, and an excess of booze, we navigated through the city streets and into the parking lot of the venue only a few minutes late. Clearly we were in the right place, there were a bunch of metalheads standing around chain smoking cigarettes. Feels like home! After a quick stretch, we introduced ourselves to the other bands and shared some laughs. All the gentlemen from Restore All Vengeance were very helpful and nice. They were the dudes who actually set up the show, and what a way to meet a band, by playing their final show before they breakup! They had all their merch set up for free and we made sure to steal some of it before the hordes arrived and looted the table.

The venue itself was rather deceiving. The stage was risen several feet above the crowd and from the center of it, the capacity seemed on the smaller end (it got packed, they can fit a ton of heads in there, I almost didn't know where to rest mine). The bar was certainly the biggest disappointment, they had NO idea what an AMF was and were rather rude about it too. However, they gave two drink tickets to each member, so we quickly unloaded all the gear, set up our booth, and assigned Dr. Bruce as designated driver (drink tickets being handed over to yours truly) before indulging in the finest of beverages, specifically many, many beers and a few long islands. The other bands had a bunch of their friends set up camp selling merch at their tables, and although I have no idea how it actually started, Clan Valensorow was waging an all-out war against the followers of Restore All Vengeance. Wristbands were being launched with amazing accuracy at ungodly speeds across the room, with many nearby concert-goers falling victim to the fray. The fight ended with a truce and many laughs as the bystanders had no idea what to do with us strange warriors in kilts.

The first band of the evening was Forsake It All. I didn't listen too much to any of the bands beforehand, I got a little preoccupied with, well, being a deer. Forsake It All was pretty good, christian hardcore (which shocked me that everyone there loves hardcore/metalcore, definitely made things much more like home, it might as well have been a show at the Refuge). Next up was Vital Malice, who Tommy Noble was really impressed by and tried to give them a huge shoutout during the Valensorow set but ended up screaming “give it up for VITAL REMAINS!” Definitely not one of his finest moments. Then Valensorow performed while I watched the merch with Menicucci. They acted like they were home, it probably helped a lot that Wuldor and Dr. Bruce had some friends in the audience (Wuldor's old bandmates from Winterforge showed up and Dr. Bruce's friends from ages ago, including his friend who was getting married, were in attendance). The lighting was great, the crowd was awesome, the sound guys were dicks but they ran a good show. A certain one-armed scallywag ended up destroying everyone in the pit, he went nuts! He could teach Captain Blaakhart a thing or two about what it means to live “a pirates life for me!” Following Valensorow and closing up the night was Restore All Vengeance, they definitely seemed to be having a ton of fun up there. After the show, we loaded the van, finished our beer, said our goodbyes and thank yous to everyone, then headed off to Conner's buddy's place to get some well deserved sleep.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Valensorow's Maiden Voyage, as remembered by Slamby pt. 3 : Paradise Found

We waved them down and split up between the two vehicles. Dr. Bruce, Tommy Noble, and Menicucci (our friend who was doing merch for us this tour and is now a permanent member as mandolin) went in the cab and apparently that was an entirely different experience than expected. The cab driver charged practically nothing to come grab us and proceeded to give them the grand tour of the town, free of charge! The town of Laramie, Wyoming is home to the University of Wyoming campus, as well as 21 bars. Twenty one bars, I could get used to this place. There is an extremely low crime rate apparently, we arrived rather late and only remained until the next day but considering how nice everyone in town was, it does not come to a surprise. The tow truck driver was the best though; he made sure we were taken care of to the fullest extent. While Wuldor had communication issues with the insurance company, this driver resolved everything very quickly and even contacted a repair shop that his friend runs. I forget his name (he brought his wife along, they are an amazing couple with great stories), but the company was AllWyo Towing and the repair shop was Wyo Speed. Phenomenal people, they even locked our van safely inside their shop instead of leaving it out in the open with our gear in plain sight. They gave the rest of us a ride to our hotel we were staying at (the hotel offered us a free upgrade to the suite that was available because they felt so bad that we were stranded). Then we discovered Mingles Adult Day Care…

Have you ever been to a bar and felt like you were in the TV show “Cheers”? I have my fair share of experiences in bars but never have I felt so welcomed into a place to feel like I was home.  Mingles is not exactly a small bar, we didn’t realize at first but they actually have many pool tables, a few dart boards, an arcade, and even a giant beer pong table. They serve drinks out of fish bowls. Seriously, fish bowls. Well, I didn’t see any fish, but they were awfully large. The bartender estimates at a normal bar five of their drinks are the same size as a fish bowl. They charged us $9 each. Needless to say, we had a great time at Mingles. We met the locals and the bar owner, all of which are amazing individuals. They made us seriously feel comfortable and relaxed (a fish bowl will do that). I cannot stress enough, if you have ever pass through Wyoming, stop in the town of Laramie, stay a night, go to Mingles and get a fish bowl. You will never want to leave; we had to drag Ferret out of there before he set up his nest.
Life goes on, and while this trip was supposed to be fun, we had a job to do, so we woke up early, got ourselves cleaned up, then headed out…back to Mingles. Well, what else are you to do when you have to wait for your car to get repaired? Wake up with a Bloody Mary, that’s how! A few games of pool and we got the call. Wuldor called the cab girls sister (our cab driver was enjoying her birthday, but her sister works for the same company) and grabbed the van. We will never forget Laramie, Wyoming, land where people treat strangers like family, where honor and respect are common traits, where drinks are delicious and cheap. VALENSOROW AWAY!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Valensorow's Maiden Voyage, as remembered by Slamby pt. 2 : Trouble Ahead!

The next amazing spot worth mentioning (the only two places in Nevada that are worth mentioning are Reno and Las Vegas, unfortunately I was forbidden from entering Sin City this trip, but soon they will let their guard down and I will be triumphant) was the Nevada/Utah border. I have heard about this concept of “dry state” but I failed to truly comprehend what this means. It actually means they have no booze and make other surrounding areas follow their rules too. IS THIS THE LAND OF THE FREE?!? HAVE YOU NO HONOR?!? HOW IS ONE TO ENTERTAIN THE WENCHES WITHOUT ALE?!? I was so frustrated I buried myself deep in a corner hoping this nightmare would end soon. Well, that works only so well until you realize that the salt flats on I-80 are accompanied by destructive winds that almost blew our boat off course many times. The Clan manned the vessel as best they could, and on that day Neptus must have been watching, for we made it out alive…and into the extreme mess of on ramps and merging maniacs known as Salt Lake City. Now that was a good time, watching Wuldor panic and scream as he navigates through the midday onslaught of Mormons. The area surrounding the actual city was beautiful, we passed through where they hosted the Winter Olympics and Noah spotted various remaining structures. If they weren’t so strict on their boozehandling laws, I might be able to understand why someone would live there; the rolling mountains and lush green fields were breathtaking.

Some time went by travelling until we approached Wyoming, and as soon as we realized we crossed the border there were liquor stores coupled with fireworks outlets. Sounds like an amazing evening, I already lost my body, I can’t really blow up any other body parts too easily. And after we passed the first town/trucker pit stop, we realized that not a whole lot of people live there. Practically nobody it seemed like, as the towns began to be few and far in between. We were cruising along with Tommy Noble guiding us through the Rocky Mountains, by now it had reached about 8pm the next day, leaving us with a total travelling to that point of 23 hours. It would certainly have been quicker if the people in charge didn’t force the interstate into one lane for miles on end. Miles on end isn’t dreadful except when you are stuck behind a big rig going 30mph on a 75mph zone. That happened quite frequently.

So the sun begins to set as we are on the road as the dials in the car begin psychotically dancing. The speedometer and such all eventually failed to work as we realized our car was rolling up hill with less and less momentum. Wonderful, the van does well most of the trip except for when we are in the middle of the Rockies with no sign of civilization anywhere. We pull over, hail a nearby construction worker who drives her truck over and gives us a jump. Noah, the Clansman with the most knowledge of these situations, was hoping a quick jump would resolve an issue of drained battery which would reduce our extraneous expenditures greatly. As is life, things went sour. Betty White started up, but quickly died. With few other possibilities, he determined it was an alternator malfunction, so Wuldor called road side assistance with much newly-found energy and “Mr. Big Dick” to get Betty White safe. Wuldor was told that the plan he just opened was not valid yet even though the agent told him otherwise only days before, and as he sorted out some issues that seemed to pile up, Tommy Noble realized he landed Betty White fairly close to the outside lane of traffic. The fleeting light made it difficult to see our boat, so they began flashing lights at the vessel to alert tired truckers that we were NOT trying to die that night. Randomly, I notice Wuldor began running up the hill, clearly forgetting that we are in the middle of the mountains thousands of feet above sea level, and physics classes on Youtube have taught me that air is very thin that high up. He was apparently trying to find a landmark for the cab and towing people to find us, and eventually the tow truck driver was able to determine where we were…72 miles west of the town we were trying to get to, Laramie. Luckily, this tow guy was awesome, all Wuldor did was mention what he could look at around him (there was very few things around to actually notice, the determining factor was a random fence and the fact we were headed uphill, he knew where we were by roughly a quarter mile). He refused to take us all, he had five seats and we are six plus a deer, and he did not want to risk us being in the back, but the first cab driver we called was more than willing to come get us. Phew, crisis averted, let’s go find a bar!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Valensorow's Maiden Voyage, as remembered by Slamby pt.1

Hear ye, fair travelers! It is I, Slamby, here to recount the tale of Valensorow’s maiden voyage! I finally have time and space, Wuldor is in Southern California and decided it was a great idea to leave me alone by myself rather than take me to Disneyland. Who says deers aren’t allowed, yet drunken pirates are?! What kind of world do we live in? Atrocities all around…

The story begins with the meeting of the Clan at their rehearsal studio to load the land boat known as “Betty White”. Clearly a fitting name, she is rather aged and temperamental. As the young crew, led by Captain Wuldor Blaakhart, fit all the necessary gear for the road ahead including many, many pieces to our Ferret’s nest (he calls it a “rack” but I feel it is much more fitting as a nest as he rarely leaves it for long, mainly to gather more supplies), I found out quickly that the floor of the boat was very comfortable. Dirty, but comfortable, such as many of the wenches I’ve called “dear”. The Clan took their time ensuring that all the necessary elements were in order before we began our descent into the madness of the never ending drive…which began at 9pm…I do not have any idea WHY they thought that was a good idea, clearly nobody cares what a deer has to say about such issues. 

Up first for leading the crew behind the wheel was the Captain, who navigated the Sierra Nevada’s with much ease. Early on in our trip, we realized the A/C was not exactly in working order, and so for a troop of six young men and a deer we were not exactly enjoying the air quality and temperature. The first two side windows pop open, but for any of us who have driven on freeways with windows down, it gets a little loud and can be chilly…such as when it is the middle of the night in the Sierra Nevada’s when the honorable Doctor Bruce and most noble of Joeys are attempting to sleep while the Captain sings Iron Maiden songs to himself. What a ragtag group we have…

As we halt just outside of Reno for gas, we realize it was around 3:30am. As for most things in Nevada, gas is accompanied by slot machines and cheap booze. It is rather difficult to walk into any building without getting visually assaulted by the flashing lights of the notorious video poker, yet our Clan stayed true to their righteous path and defended themselves from the greed invoking demons. ONWARD MEN!

For the sad souls to have known this feeling, few will forget it: car troubles. Wuldor first noticed that the battery was reading dead, yet Tommy Noble and Noah quickly decided that it was not likely an issue. Oh how this misjudgment would stab us all in the heart later on. We were all travelling through the barren wasteland of Nevada, where there seems to live nothing other than tumbleweeds and rocks. While we were in Carlin, the locals were excited to offer their fliers for events only to discover we were only passing through. At this time, the Captain began struggling in his battle against fatigue and the evils it brings with it, so Doctor Bruce took over. We all began attempting to awaken, although none of us were awake enough to truly function. The number of times I came to realizing I was cuddling with Ferret is somewhat frightening…
To be continued...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Release the Kraken (spiced rum), New Tracks Available!

Good evening, weary travelers!

To the left we now have a music player embedded that plays our music courtesy of Reverbnation, so while you read our rants you can enjoy yourself with our songs! (Just not too much enjoying by yourself, consider getting a partner...)

Tonight we released three songs off our twelve song album. The album details are as follows:

Album Title: Neptus

Track Listing:
1. Neptus
2. Clan Valensorow
3. Indiril Forest
4. A New Jericho
5. Dirge of the Dying
6. Upon the Mountain
7. The Sorceress
8. With an Iron Fist
9. La Oss Jakte
10. Tales of an Admiral
11. Storms
12. The Raid


Anyways, we decided to release a few songs now while we await the bombastic, glamorous spectacle that will be the manufactured album. Indiril Forest has been a long time favorite, so we posted our new recording of that tune. Upon the Mountain (for some reason alternately named "Poop in my butt"...) had a huge makeover, and With an Iron Fist was never fully recorded in all it's excessive 7-string brutality.

Enjoy, and please let us know what you think!