I was late coming into Vallenfyre’s abrasive 2014 magnum opus “Splinters”, but once I discovered Paradise Lost stalwart Greg Mackintosh’s intense, apocalyptic paean to all things heavy it hardly left my headphones for months on end. Vallenfyre’s epic attack encompassed the effortless convergence of death, doom, crust, grind and thrash, and blackened it to a crisp with such deft songwriting precision that you’d believe the sounds were immaculately conceived from all the world’s vile hatred and transported directly to your unworthy ears.
Vallenfyre’s new LP “Fear Those Who Fear Him” is anything but business as usual. Nobody would’ve blamed Mackintosh, with co-conspirator Hamish Glencross and new drummer Walterri Väyrynen, if they phoned it in this time out, sticking to the patterns of brutality laid out on “Splinters”. But instead they’ve expanded their nihilistic reach in ways both satisfying and unexpected, taking the listener unfathomably further into the depths of sonic abandon.
For the whiplash inducing grind aficionados there’s forty second blast “Dead World Breathes”. The depressive, doom laden sludge of “Cursed From The Womb” flips the coin, a blasphemous dirge plumbing even deeper than blood soaked “Splinters” epic “Bereft”. Mackintosh washes his hands of society’s filth on tracks like “Messiah” and “Kill All Your Masters” and the socio-political tirades take Napalm Death worship to a new level, adding even more righteous outrage to his gravel fed onslaught.
The sound of this record, once again produced by metal genius Kurt Ballou and recorded at his venerated God City Studio, also progresses into greater oblivion, with a guitar tone just as rusty and abrasive as Mackintosh’s lyrical vitriol, with gurgling, volcanic basslines and drums that relentlessly pound against the skull. The flow of the sequencing and again, the composition only add to the feeling of arch hopelessness, perpetually circling into the void.
Mackintosh doesn’t mince words or sounds, and the effect is the total aural package of destructive domination. Vallenfyre’s prowess on “Fear Those Who Fear Him” is extreme metal at its most stripped down and scathing. Enter at your own risk.
“Fear Those Who Fear Him” is available now.