Strap in, folks. This is a wild one.
For me these days, it’s not every day a Death Metal album really catches me off guard and enamors me. However, I get at least one a year that accomplishes that. In 2014, it was Necrophagia’s WhiteWorm Cathedral, in 2015, it was Culture Killer’s Throes of Mankind, and last year, it was Blood Incantation’s Starspawn and Gatecreeper’s Sonoran Depravation. Even this year thus far, just a couple weeks ago, I got one for this year courtesy of the almighty Impetuous Ritual, as Blight Upon Martyred Sentience absolutely incinerated me. Now, I have second one that made 2017 that much better for me in the land of Cookie Monster growls.
Vallenfyre is a band that took me a while to get into. They were one of those bands that just weren’t on my radar for a while, until one day, it finally clicked upon a random listen of Splinters. I was thoroughly impressed with what I heard. So, when I learned of a new album on the horizon, I marked my calendar and looked straight ahead to the day I finally got my filthy claws (and ears) on it. And was this one ever worth the goddamn wait! This is a vicious, brutal and outright face-ripping slab of old school, kinda Swedish-style Death Metal with hints of Doom, Crust and even some Black. A very crushing style with some top-notch production via the great Kurt Ballou that made it sound as filthy and head-crushing as old school Death Metal can sound. The overall sound to me, strikes similarities somewhere between Asphyx, Bloodbath and Grave. Even Gregor Mackintosh’s vocals sound a little Martin Van Drunen-ish. No complaints here for that. The music itself has a little bit of a ”Death n Roll” feel to it with some punky riffs and grooves via the dirty and sharp as fuck sounding guitars, bass and drums. This is everything I long for in a good Death Metal album and it’s a shame that that’s so hard for me to find nowadays.
Starting things off with Born to Decay, probably one of the best intros I’ve heard in recent memory, that does a great job winding you up and preparing you for what’s to come, then drops you down the hole that is Messiah; the first of the absolute beasts of songs that are going to tear you from asshole to appetite throughout this composition of audio carnage. Then things get a little groovier with Degeneration with it’s Crust Punky-style riffs, then get crushingly slow and Doomy with An Apathetic Grave, and vicious again with the blasty Nihilist. The style that these guys exhibit on this album is very versatile, with a ton of twists and turns, putting each element they choose to goddamn good use. Other tracks that fucked me up the most are the dirty, sleazy Amongst the Filth and Cursed from the Womb; both of which do just as good of a job as the rest mentioned with their sheer viciousness and versatility between slow and draggy, groovy and Crusty and intense and blasty. Those are the ones that stood out, but the rest of them did their job just as effectively.
So, for fucks sake, if you’re a Death Metal fan in any capacity; if it’s your favorite genre, if it’s just one of your favorite genres, or if you’re a somewhat jaded fan like me, and you haven’t given these guys the time of day yet, please do! I implore you! Give all 3 of their albums a listen and even if it doesn’t click right away, give them a few more listens after. It just might and they just might end up becoming one of your favorites, like they did for me. This album is a fucking ripper and proof that Death Metal can still offer up something unique and completely devastating to even the most hardened of listeners. Now alongside Impetuous Ritual, Vallenfyre have had the biggest impression on me this year thus far in the Death department and they have skyrocketed themselves high the fuck up in my ranks. All 3 albums put out by these brutal Brits are excellent, but this one might be their best and most creative yet. Even production-wise, which further proves that anything Kurt Ballou touches is bound to turn to gold. They were a grower for me at first, but they became a giant.
Until next time.