VALLENFYRE - A Fragile King (CD Review)

01.All Will Suffer
02.Desecration
03.Ravenous Whore
04.Cathedrals Of Dread
05.As The World Collapses
06.A Thousand Martyrs
07.Seeds
08.Humanity Wept
09.My Black Siberia
10.The Divine Have Fled
11.The Grim Irony

Gregor Mackintosh (Vocals/Lead Guitar) (Paradise Lost)
Hamish Glencross (Rhythm/Lead Guitar) (My Dying Bride)
Mully (Rhythm Guitar)
Scoot (Bass) (Doom)
Adrian Erlandsson (Drums) (At The Gates, Brujeria, Paradise Lost, Nemhain)

There was a huge press release surrounding this project from Gregor Mackintosh, here is
the part explaining the musicians in the band :

"Adrian is already the drummer in Paradise Lost, and not only is he a great drummer and a
good friend, he also has a great pedigree and taste in music. He grew up in similar
musical circumstances to me in Gothenburg, Sweden. He started at a young age in At The
Gates and he was also in Skitsystem (who I think are a fantastic band). The Gothenburg
scene was a thriving scene for extreme music. I wrote to lots of people from Gothenburg
in the tape trading days (including Fredrik Wallenberg who went on to start Skitsystem
with Adrian). It was a small world indeed. Adrian thought it sounded like a lot of fun
and agreed. Hamish is a friend of many years. An all round lovely chap who grew up in my
home town of Halifax. Every time I go back to my home town I give Hamish a call to see if
he wants some ales in The Sportsman (one of the first pubs I ever went in and still the
same good old rock establishment today as it was then), to which he always says yes.
Again he has a good pedigree being the guitarist in My Dying Bride and a very good
knowledge of quality doom metal. I approached the subject of him playing with me on this
project during one of our hardcore drinking sessions in The Sportsman and in his usual
enthusiastic manner, he said he thought it was a bloody good idea. Scoot is the person
I've known the longest I think. Probably about 20 years ago I needed someone to rent a
room in my house and I was already an acquaintance of Scoot’s as we were both previously
part of the Halifax punks, so I asked if he wanted to move in, which he did. He was
playing in the band Doom (which he still does as well as a few others...Extinction of
Mankind, Alehammer) and was, and still is fanatical about underground crust, punk, metal
etc. I remember whilst living together I had to go and do a 7 week tour supporting
Sepultura in Europe [1993]. During that tour Max Cavalera never spoke one word to me.
Upon my return home I received a phone call and amazingly it was Max, but he didn't want
me. He wanted to talk to Scoot because he wanted him to play in his new band Nailbomb.
Typical. Scoot was interested in doing this VALLENFYRE project with me but wanted to hear
it so I had to knock together some demos. He is very specific in what he does and doesn’t
like so I was pleased when he said he loved the stuff. I was originally going to be
purely a guitarist for this project but because I didn't have any friends whose vocals I
thought fit the stuff, and because the lyrics were so personal I decided to handle them
myself and get another guitarist, so finally I asked Mully who is my friend from where I
live now. Every Thursday I go to his house and we have a few beers and listen to lots of
old school stuff as well as checking out newer underground stuff we've heard about.
Having only played in local bands previously, I assured him he would be among friends
playing the kind of music they love. He agreed".

On the recordings and name :

"The enthusiasm for the music from rest of the guys in the band convinced me to send a
demo to another friend called Jens Prueter who is head of A&R at Century Media Europe. I
didn't hear anything for a couple of weeks and then I got an email from Jens apologizing
for the late reply as he was on holiday, and that he was blown away by the demo and would
love to do something with it. This resulted in us recording a limited edition 7" [on
Imperium Productions] and an album between December 2010 and April 2011. Because we knew exactly how we wanted it to sound, we just needed someone we trusted to record it and mix it.
I asked another friend (and live sound engineer for Paradise Lost) James Dunkley to
record it for me and then it was mixed by Russ Russell at Parlour Studios [Napalm Death,
The Exploited, Dimmu Borgir, etc]. We are all really pleased with the result and look
forward to its release.
Oh and the name Vallenfyre came to me whilst reading a book on the old English language.
Vallen means "strong" and fyre means … “fire”. I just liked the sound of them together.
The album is called "A Fragile King" which is a reference to my fathers' battle with
cancer. The lyrics are predominantly about the same thing but also include gripes with
society, religion, politics and relationships as well. It's all pretty grim".

So that covers the history, lets move to the music.....

Both the album and single are nothing short of brain crunching Death/Doom of the highest quality.Growling vocals cut through an onslaught of drums and punchy guitar, extreme speed is often tempered with slow doom passages, constantly building mood and agression.
There are a couple of outstanding tracks to mind, firstly 'The Grim Irony', its slow, doomy, has great lyrics and superb guitarwork.
The second is the hyper speed punk sound of 'Humanity Wept' it is a very powerfull song.This stuff does not need to be talked about it just needs to be heard, this is without any doubt the best death metal album to come out of the UK for many years!.

RATING 10/10

For Fans Of : At The Gates, Paradise Lost, Napalm Death, My Dying Bride.


There is also a limited edition single

01.Desecration
02.Iconoclast

Iconoclast is not on the album, so you need to track this down as well.

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