Following the release of their critically acclaimed 2014 album Splinters, Crusty-doom outfit VALLENFYRE have brought to our ears a twelve track, misanthropic aural assault by the name of Fear Those Who Fear Him. This album hearkens back to a more simplistic, evocative and harsh sound, stripping down the production for a more aggressive, ‘live’ sounding record.
Opening track, Born to Decay lures the listener into the album with a cacophony of dissonant ambience, inviting sense of unease in the listener and building up in intensity as the track progresses until it explodes into the harsh, savage noise of Messiah, which clocks in at just over two minutes long; a fast-paced, unrelenting barrage of noise which leaves little room for compromise. Degeneration enters with chugging riffs and a thoroughly dirty, pit-inducing sound throughout, combining both belligerently catchy riffs with slower, spinkick-your-friend-in-the-face sections.
This rapidly changes, as An Apathetic Grave grinds the break-neck speed to a halt, a monolithic, doom-laden track with sporadic, harsh guitar work invokes a sombre, reflective atmosphere. The pace is promptly quickened with Nihilist, a track so rapid and laced with copious amounts of vehemence that one barely has time to register the track before it flows seamlessly into Amongst The Filth, a catchy, crushingly heavy track which boasts an exciting fusion between the break-neck paced elements of the album and the slower, darker messages in Fear Those Who Fear Him. Likewise, Kill All Your Masters is a perfect example of why VALLENFYRE have such an energetic, exhilarating live performance, combining ugly, ferocious vocals with elements of crust-punk in a synthesis which makes the listener yearn for a live rendition.
The Merciless Tide once again slows down the pace of the album. Contemptuously heavy, Greg Mackintosh’s vocals lend weight and emphasis to slow sections of sporadic drum-beats and jarring guitars, before picking up the pace as Dead World Breathes kicks in. Echoing earlier songs on the album, Dead World Breathes channels aspects of grindcore and crust which open up into the technically masterful Soldier Of Christ, complete with fast, tasty and undeniably filthy riffs, undeniably head bopping segments and insanely technical guitar solos.
This flows eloquently into Cursed From The Womb, which in particular stands out as an impressive work of musicianship. Clocking in at just under seven minutes long, Cursed From The Womb opens with a dissonant guitar section which offers a foreboding glimpse into the rest of the song. Forgoing heavier, screamed vocals, Greg utilises ominous, guttural spoken word sections which send a chill down ones’ spine. Temple Of Rats brings Fear Those Who Fear Him to it’s dramatic, manic conclusion. A cacophony of solos, aggressive vocals and furious drumbeats, the album ends on a spectacularly high note.
VALLENFYRE‘s latest offering Fear Those Who Fear Him is an evocative, thought-provoking and relevant piece of music which addresses many contemporary issues found in our modern world. The fusion of both fast-paced, grindcore-esque songs bristling with hostility and sluggish, malevolent fusions of doom and death works beautifully, providing a rich mixture of soundscapes which flow impeccably from one track to the other, accentuating the political messages conveyed by this album. Considering VALLENFYRE was never intended to be more than PARADISE LOST guitarist Greg Mackintosh’s side project, the response to their previous work across the world has been phenomenal, and this album only builds upon the already established crushingly aggressive VALLENFYRE sound. Whilst some may say that the relatively lo-fi production is detrimental to the overall sound of the album, the artistry and message of Fear Those Who Fear Him is enhanced by the more “live” sound, providing a savage and raw outlook upon a world fraught with atrocity, manipulation and despair.
Fear Those Who Fear Him is out now via Century Media Records.
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