Music & Nightlife

Valient Thorr returns from near-extinction

In summer 2013, Carolina-raised hard rock band Valient Thorr released its fifth album, “Our Own Masters.” The Observer put the infamously denim-clad, bearded group on the cover of CLT, championing it as the best metal band you hadn’t heard.

Due to the reception for the band’s previous album “The Stranger,” relentless touring, and tours opening for hard rock heavyweight Motorhead, anticipation was high that the album might bring Valient Thorr a larger audience.

However, on stage at Tremont that same week, frontman Valient Himself told the audience that they might want to grab a copy of the record that night, because he didn’t know when or if it would be repressed.

Later at the bar, he explained that Volcom Entertainment, the label that released five of the band’s albums, was folding its traditional record label and that the album would probably not see much of a push.

While the news left Valient Thorr in a state of limbo, it came at a time when things were starting to change for the band members personally.

“It was crazy,” shares frontman Valient Himself (aka Herbie Abernathy, who was raised in Lincolnton, although the band’s origin is the planet Venus). “Shortly thereafter, my father (to whom he donated a kidney) passed away, two of the other guys were expecting babies and one was getting married. It became like a big break for us for about 14 months.”

The group, which plays Snug Harbor Saturday, continued to tour with Valient Himself and Eidan Thorr determined to keep going despite the departure of three longtime members.

Their persistence paid off. The group recently signed with Austria’s Napalm Records and have completed recording its next album at guitarist Eidan Thorr’s newly built, Wilmington-based Palm Reader Recordings.

Working with Napalm Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. in the U.S., is a new experience. When the group finished the record in February it expected it to be out within a few months, but evidently there’s more to the roll-out than the group was accustomed to.

“Volcom was like a vanity label for a clothing label. We did five albums and I don’t know if we had any dealings with a (real) label. (With the new album) the artwork had to go back. We’re looking at radio edits and recording Japan-only tracks (for the Japanese release).

“It’s so ‘man behind the current.’ It’s so weird to be working with people so far away, but bigger things are promised. Look at the Sword or Huntress, or W.A.S.P. or these old-school dudes that do it. American bands that work through (Napalm), they’ve had great experiences,” he continues.

As for the music? “The songs are awesome,” he says. “They’re different from before. In the past we’ve only traded a guitar. With a new rhythm section, there’s a different groove to it.”

Valient Thorr

When: 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St.

Tickets: $10.

Details: 704-561-1781; www.snugrock.com.

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