The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Tomas Cruz Vega
A FCHS student’s screenshot of “Set To Stun and the Desperado Undead.” Photo Courtesy of Tomas Cruz Vega.

A Stunning New Album

In a violent and lawless universe, we return to the galaxy that the sci-fi metalcore band Set To Stun wove to life in their debut album: “Set To Stun and the Desperado Undead.”

After an eight-year-long wait, the band released their sophomore album “Valkyrie One.” Like their debut, the album is a rock opera, a concept album that follows a storyline that continues the tale of a desperado called Amadeus, an insane anti-hero who, in a dystopian galaxy, is the only hope for freedom.

This “sequel” album starts with the seven-minute track “IV: Death of a Dreamcatcher.” Previously released as a single, we are served the perfect reintroduction to the world of Amadeus through violent instrumentals and vocals which then shift to a mournful tone. The protagonist describes a heavy loss and starts to share with the audience how he came to this. We are taken back to his childhood as he foreshadows his descent into villainy. Our narrator then explains how he grew up in a dark world which gave him a darker heart, he used his cruelty and intense narcissism to grow stronger and gain attention as well as admirers.

Overall, the harsh instrumentals and vocals complement each other nicely and wrap the song off with proper suspense, leaving the listener hungry for more. Some parts of the seven-minute-long track tend to drag on, but that is expected for the required exposition.

While familiar, it is a bit of a disappointment to see the track “Walk Tall II” next in the album’s chronology. The song was previously released as a single in 2018 and has become a familiar listen. Despite the track being nothing new to celebrate, it is still a pleasant song with a mesh of instruments that truly showcase the electric and sci-fi aspect of Set To Stun’s story.

From the start, the track is incredibly intense and dark as the protagonist is fueled with hatred and is bent on treating the world as terrible as the world treated him. But we are also shown his capacity for love through a few lyrics hinting at a love interest for which he can’t afford to fall. As the song progresses, we learn how truly disturbed this character is by his violent thoughts, his tendency to view himself as too far gone, and his self-criticism over his hypocritical thoughts.

Next is “Staria III: The Acolytes of Amadeus,” a nine-minute-long track that returns to the victory of Amadeus with multiple references to songs from the previous album. The protagonist has continued to follow his dark path to the point of realizing that he’s dug his grave too deep. Throughout the song, he seems to acknowledge the difference between good and bad, but after a crippling loss of a loved one, he fears it is too late and we are left off in a mournful melody.

Towards the end of the track, once again the narrator brings us back to a new beginning. The song is exceptionally beautiful for the metalcore genre. However, like “Death of a Dreamcatcher,” it feels like it starts to drag on during the instrumental pauses which could have been handled in a louder, yet saddening approach.

“Enter Lust” brings a tone shift as our protagonist has accepted his dark capacity. We are led through his violent and maddening thoughts with no shame or fear. The narrator details the stalking of a woman he is pursuing, once again showing us the true extent of the character’s madness through these visions which may be reality or not. Despite this track already being released as a single last year, the haunting intro and the catchy tune truly make it a great ballad of a villain.

This entire album is not just about a fictional alien war, but also about the warring in a twisted soul’s head. “The Holy Mountain” reflects this best as the protagonist continues with devious actions, but has hope that everything will be fixed. We are served multiple biblical allegories, setting up for a final battle between dark and light. The track is traditionally very fast-paced and is a great balance for the album so far.

The “Last Adam” slows the pace of the album, giving the listener a breather and a bridge to the next act. The narrator, no longer singing, explains that there will be an arrival of a powerful king, and with him, peace will arrive. The protagonist promises vengeance whether or not this “king’s” arrival is what is needed. The suspenseful and inspiring music of this track is flawlessly delivered to entice the listener back into the story.

Set To Stun truly reminds us why they are such an underrated band through the album’s namesake “V: Valkyrie One” which features singer Craig Mabbit. The song brings us back to Set To Stun’s unique style of blending rock and metal genres in one heavy and intense song. It seems we are taken to a different story: the band’s journey so far. The song’s self-love, inspiring, and grateful messages all ring louder than the instruments themselves and bring the proper high energy needed for the final part of the album.

The album ends on “Axel Trips,” giving the listener the tragic realization that our narrator indeed had a family and a young son. The protagonist’s fate is implied to be tragic. While the song itself isn’t particularly special, it does give a satisfying and strong end to the album.

Overall, “Set To Stun’s Valkyrie One” is a stunning rock opera that should earn the band more recognition. It is intense, peaceful, and a remarkable album for new listeners.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Fluco Beat Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *