Sunday, 25 June 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Vallenfyre - "Fear Those Who Fear Him"

By: Andre Almaraz

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/06/2017
Label: Century Media Records

All in all it’s another good album that sees the band dishing out shorter and faster songs than we’re used to getting from them, while not losing the razor sharp edge of that classic Vallenfyre musical mastery and might.

“Fear Those Who Fear Him” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. Born To Decay
02. Messiah
03. Degeneration
04. An Apathetic Grave
05. Nihilist
06. Amongst The Filth
07. The Merciless Tide
08. Dead World Breathes
09. Soldier Of Christ
10. Cursed From The Womb
11. Kill All Your Masters
12. Temple Of Rats

The Review:

Vallenfyre is a band that should need no introduction. The group has been kicking all kinds of ass since their 2011 debut and continue to release quality albums approximately every three years, up to and including this year’s new release, “Fear Those Who Fear Him,” which just dropped on June 2, 2017. 

This third full length instalment consists of twelve songs, half of which are under three minutes in length, which is somewhat of a departure from their usual repertoire. The album opens with slow-burner, “Born To Decay,” which gradually warms up and lasts for only about a minute before all cylinders are firing and “Messiah” rips in full force with a classic grindcore blast of spinning buzzsaws that make you feel like you’re trapped in the middle of a drug induced late night knife fight. Then “Degeneration” comes in like a lion and pounds your meat into a tenderized patty with repeated blows of led boots to the head. These first three songs blend together for me, even after repeated listens, seeming as if the three parts make up one mass movement amounting to a seven minute long frenzy. This is most likely due partially to very brief gaps between songs with the best possible outcome. I actually found myself going back several times to figure out exactly where one song ended and the other began. I don’t know if this was the intended effect the band was looking to portray when they laid out the songs of the album but I thought it was a pretty cool experience which left me a bit bewildered in a good way.

When “An Apathetic Grave” kicks in as song number four, this is when the album noticeably shifts gears for the first time and gets down to that sweet and sour Swedeath molasses that Vallenfyre is always able to lay down so masterfully. This one song is just about as long as the flurry of the first three combined. It puts the album right where it needs to be and not a moment too soon as it leaves you with an uneasy feeling in your stomach and radiation poisoning in your mind. Shortly thereafter, “Nihilist” chimes in for a two minute blast like Napalm Death high on a fistful of Swedish crack. “Amongst The Filth” is a dastardly mid-paced head bobber that gallops and grooves over trampled, broken bodies, and gives us a few minutes to reflect on the previous hail storm before the madness returns with the dying world anthem, “Kill All Your Masters.” 

The Merciless Tide” comes in with more grimoire and groove-laden layers of lightning bolt guitars and “Dead World Breathes” unapologetically jams your face into the bench grinder with no mercy shown. Drums and bass crack the whip and sink your ship as they shove you down further with powerful rage for the most punishing forty seconds of your life. “Soldier Of Christ” has some really interesting shuffled grooves with galloping hooves. The new drummer really shines with an abundance of creative beats and fills on this one. 

Cursed From The Womb” brings us back to that menacing Swedoom and gloom for what is only the second instalment of slowness on the album. This is the longest song; the epic proportionately speaking, the lyrics of which are where the album title comes from. This is one cruel slab of menacing death doom with an abrupt ending that leaves you empty and questioning your own shallow existence. Album closer, “Temple Of Rats” just feels like the perfect album closer. It’s a belligerent blast of eloquently expressed brutality. It feels like the band put down some serious thought when it came to laying out the order of the songs.

Vallenfyre are masters of combining elements of death, doom, crust, grind, sludge, and all other things we hold dear. They put it all in a blender and then regurgitate the slurry into a delightful elixir that many metal heads regard as divine ambrosia. I would say that in general, this album comes off as being faster and punchier than previous efforts, and that the overall tone of the mix is a bit more on the thin crust side with considerably less bottom end than the previous two full lengths. All in all it’s another good album that sees the band dishing out shorter and faster songs than we’re used to getting from them, while not losing the razor sharp edge of that classic Vallenfyre musical mastery and might.

“Fear Those Who Fear Him” is available now

Band info: facebook

FFO: Entombed, Bloodbath, Bolt Thrower, Paradise Lost