Vallenfyre

Vallenfyre – Splinters Review

Vallenfyre – Splinters Review

“We haven’t reviewed any Swedish retro death for a spell, so here’s a big chunk of it to fill our crust quota. But Vallenfyre isn’t your average Swedish retro death band, mind you. They hail from the U.K. and are a super group of sorts, helmed by Gregor Mackintosh, longtime guitarist for goth/doom troupe Paradise Lost. Joining him in these brootal endeavors is Hamish Hamilton Glencross of My Dying Bride and Adrian Erlandsson of At the Gates.” Quite the pedigree of death, eh? It’s all in the breeding.

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol Review

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol Review

Well, well, well, if it isn’t Paradise Lost. This band is a reviewer’s wet dream, simply by virtue of all the weird shit they’ve pulled over the years. Starting out as one of the pioneers of death/doom metal in 1990, the band mutated into a sort of gothic hard rock/metal, before suddenly turning into Depeche Mode towards the end of that decade.

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

Vallenfyre – A Fragile King Review

2011 might as well be dubbed the year of Swedish Retro Death. Band after loathsome band has burst from the underground to pay rancid homage to genre legends like Entombed, Dismember and Grave. Despite the sheer volume of the stuff, Steel Druhm has remained supportive and for the most part, the trend hasn’t worn out its welcome. Now we get Vallenfyre’s debut full length from a veritable death metal super group featuring members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Cradle of Filth. With such a pedigree, it shouldn’t be too surprising when A Fragile King has everything you would reasonably expect from a Swedish death album. It’s chunky, thick, nasty and vile. It’s an ode to all things Entombed with a sizeable injection of Celtic Frosty goodness as well. At times, its so much like the immortal Left Hand Path it’s uncanny, yet it also brings in plenty of dire dirges to shake things up. This MOFO was conceived in unholy sin, birthed in ungodly filth and raised on bloody carnage. There’s a guitar sound heavy enough to fracture your vertebrae and vocals so grisly they’ll disturb the deranged. But, you rightly ask, is it actually good? Oh yes, it’s really good! This is unapologetically retro and doesn’t strive for innovation but it nails home the tried-and-true Swedish sound with the subtlety of a Panzer division. How this will sit with you depends entirely on your tolerance for more Swedish death. If 2011 has fed you all the old-time death you can stomach, move along and I won’t think less of you. If not, belly up to the death buffet and chow down on this meatloaf of the damned.