VALLENFYRE - Splinters (CENTURY MEDIA - LP 2014)
Only couple of weeks ago I learned that split up mid 2018, which is such a bloody shame in my opinion, because I considered them to be one of the best bands around these days. Well, one day everything will end, but this end came far too early in my opinion, especially that "Fear Those Who Fear Him" was released only few months earlier. Anyway, left three fantastic records behind and their second LP "Splinters" is the one I like the most. This album is simply amazing and close to perfection, it definitely is my favourite work from Gregor Mackintosh, whether we speak of or any Paradise Lost album he ever composed.
And speaking of Paradise Lost, one just cannot ignore the fact that some songs on "Splinters" have a very strong influence from the early Paradise Lost albums. every slower song, where you can hear a melodic line to accompany slow paced, doomy riff will immediately remind you about albums such as "Gothic". Which is fuckin awesome to hear, of corpse! Listen to "Bereft" as the best example for that. It's also my favourite song on "Splinters", a pure perfection of old school doomy death metal, in my opinion. The riffs in it, melodic lines, vocal parts – everything sounds absolutely fantastic and there's only one song from Mackintosh, which is equally amazing and that's "Beneath Broken Earth" (best Paradise Lost song ever!). I have to say that the melodic side of "Splinters" is something I’m especially happy to hear. And the way balanced this album between this with heavy, doomy style of death metal and faster, crusty, dirty style of metal is great too. This way the album is very dynamic, diverse and it contains many, many insanely good riffs. may be taking influences from Paradise Lost, Autopsy, crust, punk and Swedish death metal (with the guitar tone insanely similar to the best Swedish They even lurk into the traditions of British with “Thirst for Extinction” and “Instinct Slaughter”! But the result is always absolutely wonderful. There’s no single song or fragment, which I wouldn’t like, or which would sound boring or like a filler to My favourite are these slower tracks, I love their heaviness, dark, sorrowful feel and memorable riffs. "Bereft", “Scabs” and “Aghast” are three master-fuckin-pieces.
I also have to say how much I like Greg's growls, he sounds like a beast, and not a happy one for sure! But it's amazing how he found his passion to play such old school death metal, especially when you compare it to what Paradise Lost has been playing for so many years now. “Splinters” sounds already like a classic record and to be fair, it probably is the best thing to come from British death metal scene ever since the early 90’s. Fuckin mandatory album!
Standout tracks: "Bereft", “Scabs”, “Aghast”