There are times when you want to listen to music that’s elegant and refined, that moves with grace and sublimity. But there are also times when you want to listen to music that hits you like a sledgehammer and pummels you into submission.
Valerinne’s Monumenta is for moments like those.
The Romanian trio’s instrumental post-rock will no doubt bring to mind artists like Mono and Explosions in the Sky. But while those groups occasionally temper their sturm und drang with elegiac string arrangements and quiet, reflective moments, Valerinne feels no similar need to grant listeners respite.
Even those times when the trio trades massive guitar riffs for synths are no less intense; Alexandru Daș’ synth-work is just as heavy and uncompromising as his guitar-work. And in any case, he’s matched, stride for stride, by Liviu Stoicescu’s fluid basslines and Mircea Smarandache’s thunderous drumming.
Valerinne’s intensity ultimately proves cathartic, though, and even exhilarating. As “Downstream” closes Monumenta with a particularly awe-inspiring display of instrumental fury that’d make Godspeed You! Black Emperor jealous, a thought crosses your mind: “If I can survive this, I can survive anything.” Monumenta will definitely beat you down one massive, fiery riff at a time, but it’ll also build you back up, stronger than you were before.