Vallenfyre - Splinters
Century Media
11 songs (44:00)
Release year: 2014
Century Media
Reviewed by Joel
Splinters is the follow-up disc for the Doom/Death supergroup Vallenfyre. Vallenfyre started as a project for lead guitarist/vocalist Greg Mackintosh(Paradise Lost) after the loss of his failure. He buried his grief and anger into his music, and Vallenfyre was born. With the help of Hamish Glencross(My Dying Bride) on guitars, Scoot (Doom, Extinction of Mankind) on bass and the awesome drumming of Adrian Erandlsson(At The Gates, Paradise Lost, The Haunted), Mackintosh has created another sonic landscape, one much heavier and brutal than his work with Paradise Lost.

The three and a half minute Scabs opens the disc, and within that time, we are greeted to the death vocals(you will hear throughout the disc), blast-beat drumming, and tremolo guitar playing. Bereft is the second track on the disc, and at just over seven minutes its also the longest on the disc. The song moves between brutal heaviness,and a more doom-laden section halfway through the song, harkening back to the Mackintosh's early work in Paradise Lost. Other than the man behind the mic and the songwriting, there really is no similarities between the bands. This is definitely an outlet that allows Mackintosh to release his anger, frustration, and loss into something much different.

Instinct Slaughter is the shortest track, and falls just under a minute and fifty seconds. Its a fast brutal song, and there is not much else you can say about it. The first track I heard, was for the song Odious Bliss, which you can see/hear HERE. Savages Arise and Aghast, are both very heavy and brutal songs, but they differ in how they get there. While the latter is just brutal, Aghast slowly builds up in typical doom fashion, before it is unleashed. The song changes tempos a few times and is a definite highlight on the disc, and a song I remembered when the disc was over.
The Wolves Of Sin, is a slower moving Doom/Death song, with a mid-tempo down-tuned groove. The drumming on this song keeps it from being boring, as it is varied throughout the song. Speaking of drumming, the opening of Cattle features some aggressive drumming focusing on the backbeat. It almost has a Punk like feel to the song structure, with a bit of Crust in there as well(which can be heard on other songs as well). At just under three minutes long it does not over stay its welcome. Dragged to Gehenna is an almost mid-paced death metal song. Verses feature a straight ahead guitar riff that changes between a basic palm-muted riff and melodic chords. At just over two minutes Thirst For Extinction is a straight ahead blast-beat Death Metal song, that grabs you by the throat, and leaves you bloodied by the end. WARNING!: Trying to headbang to this song, might leave you with severe whiplash, you have been warned!. The title track is last, and is the second longest song at just under six and a half minutes,and this is probably my favorite song on the disc. It covers Doom, Death, and is every bit melodic as it is heavy.

Vallenfyre is more than just your typical, Doom/Death/Crust, or whatever sub-genre you want to call it, type of band. Though the vocals could use some variation(minor nitpick), the music itself takes on different emotions. Mackintosh has released something very powerful within himself, that he shares with all of us. A loss of someone we care about and love, can be powerful, and it can also create a work of art. I am the first to admit that Death Metal is not my go to genre, but when I do it is bands like Vallenfyre that pull at the emotions, that make us human. For Fans of early Paradise Lost or My Dying Bride, also for fans of bands like earlier Autopsy, Celtic Frost/Hellhammer or even Napalm Death.
Killing Songs :
Bereft and Splinters
Joel quoted 85 / 100
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