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Vallenfyre

To a normal person, Halifax, England may seem like just another English town. But to doom / death connoisseurs, it holds a special place as the origin of two of the most influential bands in the style namely Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. In 2010, a splinter group headed by Paradise Lost guitarist Greg Mckintosh took shape under the name Vallenfyre. Vallenfyre since their inception have clearly been a death metal band whose initial works tied in doom metal elements to convey deep brooding emotions in a heavy and powerful way. Over the course of their albums, the band has been shifting more and more towards the Swedish death metal sound, with a hearty portion of crust and hardcore in the mix. The band’s third album ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ (released on Century Media Records) sees a continuation of this shift.

Vallenfyre tackles both ends of the death metal spectrum with elan and they maintain a sense of cohesiveness throughout the record despite the wildly varying tempos

Vallenfyre sound closer here to Swedeath bands like Entombed and Dismember especially on account of the crust influences which give this a sweet death n’ roll sound. While opener Born to Decay sets the tone in a relatively calm and mid paced manners, the follow up Messiah shatters all doomy illusions with it’s punchy riff work. Frequenting between mid paced grooves and full on d-beat frenzies, tracks like this and follow up Degeneration give the album a good launching momentum, before Vallenfyre revert to the realms of doom on An Apathetic Grave. The plodding riffs combined with the drearily melodic lead work swaps out rage for melancholy, while keeping the death metal core unblemished.

VallenfyreOne of the brilliant things about the records is the placement of the songs. The importance of ordering the tracks on an album in a meaningful way is a concept lost on many bands these days. Vallenfyre get it exactly right so that every song flows naturally and the album as a whole has a brilliant dynamic quality. While slower songs like the aforementioned An Apathetic Grave throws the spotlight on the melodic and melancholic aspect of the band, following it up with the borderline grindcore track Nihilist is just perfect to keep the listener’s attention rooted. During the doom tracks like The Merciless Tide and Cursed from the Womb, Vallenfyre invokes flavors of Celtic Frost / Tryptikon, with massive, memorable riffs and mesmerizing lead guitar work.

Vallenfyre tackles both ends of the death metal spectrum with elan and they maintain a sense of cohesiveness throughout the record despite the wildly varying tempos. What started out as an outlet of grief for guitarist Greg Mckintosh, stands today as a whole new beast of it’s own. ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ is a very well rounded release which expertly tackles all the faces of old school death metal.

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Author:

Shrivatsan R Dreamer with an appetite for extreme music who probably doesn’t like you already (unless you’re a dog). Obsessed with grindcore, death metal and all things experimental. Head honcho at Metal Gallows (http://www.metalgallows.com)