THE VAL – King Ocelot (2019)
After almost five years, Spanish melodic rockers THE VAL are back with new material, the brand new album titled “King Ocelot“. Taking a foundation Eighties AOR and Melodic Rock, The Val adds to their musical palette several other influences into a unique mash-up where taste and elegance are the order of the day.
“King Ocelot” is the third, and most complete musical opus from the band, strong in songwriting & arrangements – there’s some brilliant moments here, and while the AOR sound of all time is the core of The Val, everything is enriched with a multitude of nuances, details.
After the evocative intro “Electric Jungle”, we are blessed with the stupendous melodies of “Crying On The Bedroom”, a meaty mid-paced melodic rocker with a first half of the 80s feel. Gabrielle de Val’s vocals soar, and the guitar work (and the ending solo) brings to mind Neal Schon. In fact, the entire song recall Journey yet a female vocalist.
Midtempo AOR arrives with “Crazy World” and its smooth vocals and synth atmospheres, then midway the song gets fever and we have something resembling Boston, and I love it.
Despite its title, “Symphony” is primo radio-ready Melodic Rock circa 1984, then the band changes for a more organic, elaborated rocker on “Son Of Mine”. It’s curious (or not) but the latter gave me shades of Magnum 1988.
More variation appear with “Lilly and the Old Man”, a melodic rocker telling an epic story, and musically it keeps quite epic. Think TEN yet much more melodic, and the instrumentation more classy, complete with organ. The Val graces us again with even more variation, and a terrific ballad with “Inner Voice”, intimate, with suave vocals, piano, and synth orchestration.
It’s time for feel-good AOR again, and “High Heels” does the trick with its joyful melody, quirky rhythm section and catchy chorus. You’ll love this.
There’s a different sonic / production approach for “Wings Of An Angel”, and I like it. It’s a more 90s oriented semi-ballad with pulsating verses until the chorus, and atmospheric guitar work. Great tune, and again, different from the others.
More melodic rock in the vein of recent Robin Beck works we find “Save a Little Love”, there’s an European feel in the melodic rock skeleton of “You Break The Silence”, while “Say Goodbye” is a simple yet catchy rocker where the guitar swirls steal the show and the verses / chorus makes tap your toe.
Closer is the title track, a short acoustic piece with an environmental plea through the lyrics.
THE VAL are all about classy AOR / Melodic Rock, however the band take these sub-genres as base and develops a unique style & sound. And the best part of it: never repeat themselves – all songs are different.
01. Electric Jungle
02. Crying on the Bedroom Floor
03. Crazy World
05. Son of Mine
06. Lilly and the Oldman
07. Inner Voice
08. High Heels
09. Wings of an Angel
10. Save a Little Love
11. Kill the Noise
12. You Break the Silence
13. Say Goodbye
14. King Ocelot
Gabrielle de Val (Vocals)
Alfonso Samos (Guitars)
Alex Morell (Bass)
Tony Ortega (Keyboards)
Maria Lopez (Keyboards & Vocals)
Ruben Berengena (Drums)