Episode 420: Valkyrie, Earthdiver, Custom Black 2020 Album Reviews + Crew Nation Fan Pick

Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

So, in case you haven’t noticed, we themed this episode!  Enjoy it, because it probably isn’t gonna happen again for quite a while.

You may also notice a review that, well, doesn’t fit.  Why did we do it? Go to THIS PAGE to find out how you can help this podcast contribute to Crew Nation and make us review whatever you want.

And remember – Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Metal.


Valkyrie – Fear (Relapse)
Earthdiver – Lord of the Cosmos
Custom Black Saxon Lady

Crew Nation Donation Feature:
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Parlophone)

Valkyrie – Fear

Earthdiver – Lord of the Cosmos

Custom Black – Saxon Lady


  1. Great pick, Mal, with making Nick and Brian listen to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. I will say that making them listen to this album is totally NOT trolling. The Beatles are regarded as one of the most important bands in pop/rock history for a reason, and Sgt. Pepper’s represents a transitional album for them as they went from a purely pop band into a more mature and experimental band. It falls into what I refer to as music “literacy”, or in this case rock music literacy. I don’t mean “literacy” in the sense of music theory or being able to read sheet music. I mean it in the sense of what is called “cultural literacy”, which means “to participate fluently in (music) culture”. In terms of metal, it means that if you want to participate in discussions about metal music, you should probably have listened to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Metallica to at least some extent even if those aren’t your favorite bands. So if you said to a metalhead, “the album by this new band sounds like Iron Maiden”, every metalhead would know what you are talking about. For pop and rock music, the single most important band in pop/rock history is the Beatles.

    Brian is totally correct about knowing the history of the album and its place in the pop culture of the time it came out. And while I realize you guys like to focus on production, I personally don’t think it makes much of a difference which version of the album you listen to. If the album that people heard in 1967 was crap, it wouldn’t be the classic it is regarded as today. Any subsequent remixing doesn’t seem to me to make much difference. I mean, half the band wasn’t even alive when those remixes were made. My opinion is that any of the technological advancements in recording and production would be worthless if the songs weren’t any good.

    I’ll expand upon Abbey Road and two reasons why it is a good choice to listen to specifically for metalheads. For starters, do you like great bass lines? Tell me that “Come Together” isn’t one of the best bass lines in rock history. Next, the song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is considered proto-doom metal. You can hear that song influencing Black Sabbath. Abbey Road also has (arguably) George Harrison’s two best pop songs: “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”. Almost all of the Beatles songs were written by Lennon and McCartney, but Abbey Road sees George Harrison really stepping into his own as a songwriter and adding his distinctive style to the Beatles. And finally, the medley that comprises the end of the album is pure fun, even if they just took parts of songs that they had ideas for and just threw them all together. Whatever they did, it works great.

    1. Brian: Since we covered this album at length already, I’ll just reply to the production part. First off, I didn’t mean to talk at as long as I did about the different versions, and actually wish we could have dove into the technical aspect more. Second, generally speaking you are correct. It doesn’t make THAT much of a difference what version you ultimately listen to. However, it was my first time listening to the album and one of the reasons the album is legendary is because of the technical aspects of the recording. I absolutely could not appreciate it because the mix was so bad on the ‘09 stereo mix. I was trying to find a version that was available for streaming and close to the band intended.

      I haven’t gone to other Beatles albums yet, but I will make sure Abbey Road is on the list!

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