Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Vallenfyre - Splinters (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 13/5/2014
Label : Century Media

Splinters tracklisting :

1). Scabs 03:36
2). Bereft 07:11
3). Instinct Slaughter 01:26
4). Odious Bliss 04:09
5). Savages Arise 02:40
6). Aghast 05:15
7). The Wolves of Sin 03:08
8). Cattle 02:57
9). Dragged to Gehenna 04:15
10). Thirst for Extinction 02:07
11). Splinters 06:27

The Band :

Gregor Mackintosh | Vocals and Lead Guitar
Hamish Glencross |Rhythm and Lead Guitars
Scoot | Bass
Adrian Erlandsson | Drums

Review :

Vallenfyre, Paradise Lost's Gregor Mackintosh's side project of crusty death/doom are back with their second record. 'Scabs' opens things with quick tempos and a very crust punk vibe to the approach. Things slow down after some blast sections and avid listener's of the main man's day job will recognise some of the doom laden lead work. It is a concussive opener. 'Bereft' follows with a longer song length and more Bolt Thrower-esque sounds to the riffing. Slow and morose, it shows the doom sound of the band perfectly.

'Instinct Slaughter' contrasts this effectively with one and a half minutes of crusty death, just ploughing forward with relentless riffing and thrash/blast beats.  'Odious Bliss' brings groove and power to the record, showcasing another aspect to this unusual band's sound. It is at this point that, on first listen, I really began getting into the record. Diverse, but with unifying sounds, the record is a kind of tour of the overlapping sections of crust/doom/death. It is also very well produced- it sounds great and murderously powerful without sounding too polished.

'Savages Arise' keeps the brutality flowing with excellent grooves and chugging riffs rubbing alongside punkier sounding guitar work. By the time 'Aghast' rolls around, you are over the half way point and probably fully sold on the band's sound and approach. 'Wolves of Sin' is slow and discordant to start with, but picks up to an insistent marching groove, and then doubles the snare tempo again. A scathing attack on Christianity in lyrical terms, the band gets things right here again before 'Cattle' blasts its way into your ears with an unruly air of menace. 'Dragged to Gehenna' chugs with muscular insistence, setting up a rather more straight-forward old school death metal vibe.

'Thirst for Extinction' is pacey and to the point, blasting and grinding its way to two minutes of carnage. The title track closes out this impressive sophomore release with slow doom passages complimented by swirling leads reminding you once again of Gregor's day job.

If you have any interest in doom/death crossover, crust punk and even Paradise Lost (then and now, but perhaps not mid-period!) then it will be well worth your while to check this record out. Vallenfyre are very much the real deal. Dark, miserable, heavy and at times very aggressive indeed, the album slays, pure and simple. 

Words by : Richard Maw

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