Vallenfyre - A Fragile King
Label: Century Media Records
Reviewer: Rak Hiasat - 2012-09-06
Highlights: "Cathedrals Of Dread", "My Black Siberia", "The Grim Irony".
There is always something to be said about persistence, and perhaps Vallenfyre are one of our most rugged British lessons in this particular virtue, having released their debut full-length album which offers nothing more than the purest of death metal aesthetics that remind me of Napalm Death, Morbid Angel and Nihilist, with a tinge of the good old sinister doom and pestilence. Granted, the well-written efforts I've heard from this "Halifax" outfit have surely been a distinct, mature album that clenches attention through eleven compositions and of course takes my sight in this time while we handling the exchanges of many death metal icons.
The album opens with "All Will Suffer", which is one of the best tracks on the album, possessing amazing guitar ability, smooth drums and blazing vocals that are more than just catchy. "Desecration" is the second piece which offers some more uplifting feelings, streaming down more melodic guitars with a thrashy breakdown which really sounds wild, while "Ravenous Whore" offers more ritualistic speed and unexpected themes (though I wouldn’t pick this as the highlight of the album). "Cathedrals Of Dread" begins soon afterwards, with a melodic muting sequence deep in the track that truly wraps the experience, marking my first experience of the album's best.
Now we come upon the fifth track in the album which is called "As The World Collapses " and I must say this is pure old school Swedish death metal will tear your soul apart because the strong harsh riffs in this song really bring me back to the old days. And yet here's another face of quality in the album with a more melodic style in "A Thousand Martyrs" and "Seeds", the latter sounds like a masterpiece; it starts with fast riffs with wonderful drumming, but then the song goes into more aggressive and slower riffing. I absolutely love the structure of those two songs, which is heavily based on a melodic old school background.
"Humanity Wept" is the shortest track on this album, the vocals and riffs are very thrashy and heavily woven in with a lot of Slayer influences, while the band also resorts to slow breakdowns. These breakdowns are technical and well played, though. In "My Black Siberia" it's just needed when the music needs to slow down and take a break from the fast punishing riffs, the solo in this song is also played perfectly; a really good job in the guitar's slides, especially.
"The Divine Have Fled", meanwhile, is a more modern song than the others in the album, being just a typical melodic death song with mastery displayed by the guitarist, drummer and vocalist, it contains all the modern songs' perfect compound with high performance on the drums and really fast guitars and amazing harsh vocals.
"The Grim Irony" is another classical old style masterpiece on this album, it can be easily said that it's among the more melodic songs in the album. The riffing really is top-notch from start to finish and the guitars' sound is crunchy and sharp that brings the heavier touch to the vocals. The mixing and mastering was really amazing and handled as good as it should be. I think the three doom icons, Gregor Mackintosh from Paradise Lost, Hamish from My Dying Bride and the drumming legend Adrian Erlandsson from At The Gates and Paradise Lost really fit along with the other members to create this epic old style death album.
In the end I just want to say this album is recommended for any fan of death metal with emphasis on old-school style and a lot more brutality from what comes to us these days in the metal scene. It just undoubtedly lays in terms to a headbanger's delight.