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Vallenfyre
Splinters

Company: Century Media
Release: 2014
Genre: Gothic
Reviewer: EC

  • Uncompromising



  • Paradise Lost members Greg Mackintosh and Adrian Erlandsson make up the core of this UK powerhouse. "Splinters" is the band's sophomore effort after the critically acclaimed debut, "A Fragile King", in 2011. Vallenfyre was formed by Mackintosh after his father's death and served as a therapeutic purgation. The response was overwhelming and led to the "project" becoming a band. Along with Mackintosh (guitars, vocals) and Erlandsson (drums) is bassist Scoot (Extinction of Mankind) and new guitarist Hamish Glencross (My Dying Bride).

    "Splinters" is conceptually the same approach as the group's debut albeit enhanced due to the superior production by Kurt Ballou (Skeletonwitch, Converge). The band felt the most efficacious way of creating a primitive sound was to use Ballou and GodCity Studios. His uncanny ability to delve into harsher realms elevates this sophomore effort and expands upon the band's dreary delivery. While it is a remarkable piece of art, the album is angular and finds many different avenues along its course.

    From the opening chords of "Scabs" you can immediately hear Mackintosh's signature guitar sound. Those opening riffs harvest the same bleak authority that Paradise Lost possessed in the early 90s ("Gothic", "Shades of God"). Like "Scabs" the album is stocked with faster starts and stops that descend into sweeping doom passages. The seven minute "Bereft" is built on mournful melodies that build to a crescendo at the four minute mark. Other cuts like "Instinct Slaughter" and "Savages Arise" clock in at less than three minutes and recall the early Swedish death movement. The production standards place enough fuzziness on the strings to recall early Dismember and Nihilist complete with Mackintosh's scathing guttural voice.

    This extreme genre's finest exhibits can be found in the late 80s to early 90s by titans like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Napalm Death. It is in that company that I feel this English band belongs. Vallenfyre have created one of the year's best albums. "Splinters" is an uncompromising display of aggressive music with enough hook-laden grooves and soulful melodies to make it dynamic and purposeful.



    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: VALLENFYRE
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    SplintersVallenfyre
    2014
    Eric Compton5/13/2014


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: VALLENFYRE
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    A Fragile KingVallenfyre
    2011
    David Loveless1/28/2012
    Fear Those Who Fear HimVallenfyre
    2017
    David Loveless8/12/2017


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: VALLENFYRE
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


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