Vallenfyre – ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ (Century Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 04:30

Vallenfyre artworkRecently, there have been several notable projects released by bands that have dealt with the personal turmoil of having a loved one be afflicted by, and ultimately succumb to cancer. Touché Amoré’s ‘Stage Four’, Gojira’s ‘Magma’ and most recently Mastadon’s ‘Emperor Of Sand’ have all dealt with the topic based on each respective artist’s familial proximity to the disease. However, Vallenfyre may be the only actual side-project to have been started up as a vehicle to tackle the issue. Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh, penned the haunting album, ‘A Fragile King’, as a tribute to his deceased father, gathering together a who’s who of death/doom metal musicians to form the ranks. It seemed that the album was a one and done deal, but Vallenfyre returned in 2014 with the follow-up release, ‘Splinters.’ Firmly established as a band in their own right, Vallenfyre continue to deliver on the stellar quality of their previous records with ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him.’


The ominous dissonance of opener, ‘Born To Decay’ leads into a surprisingly bouncy main riff, bolstered by an earthy, lo-fi production job. It’s a good representation of the overall tone of the record, but hints towards a return to the more doom influenced style of Gregor’s day job. The Paradise Lost vibe is very much apparent on ‘Cursed From The Womb’; kicking off with a subterranean sounding bass and a lead guitar line drenched in feedback, showcasing the leviathan-sized weight that Vallenfyre can create with such minimalistic style. There is some notable experimentation on tracks like ‘The Merciless Tide’, where disorientating lead guitars give a sinister, esoteric quality atop a wonderfully offbeat groove. It’s one of many examples on ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ where Vallenfyre moves away from their more comparatively simplistic arrangements, and the results are hugely successful.


Another improvement on this album is Vallenfyre’s further exploration into more savage territory. ‘Messiah’ finds the band at their most brutalizing; a straight-up thrash riff in the verses moves into some blistering, blast beat driven old school death metal. ‘Nihilist’ is a similarly ferocious track, grinding with an intensity comparable to Napalm Death’s recent output. Despite the strength of the more frenetic material, the album highlight comes halfway through with ‘Amongst The Filth.’ If there was ever any contender for a death metal anthem, it’s this stomping track; the combination of the immensely catchy riffing and Gregor’s unique vocal delivery, ‘Amongst The Filth’ shares the same rock n’ roll swing of latter day Satyricon.



Bathed in a gloriously filthy production, Vallenfyre’s third album is the perfect culmination of the band’s work so far. Merging the lumbering tempos of the debut with the sonic nastiness of ‘Splinters’ has turned out to be a winning formula, making ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ a versatile yet entirely cohesive body of work. Whizzing by at just over 35 minutes, Vallenfyre have crafted one of the most streamlined and -dare I say it - fun extreme metal releases of 2017.


‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ is out now. You can buy your copy HERE.


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