Vallenfyre – Splinters


Review by Jason Guest

Century Media

Release date: 12 May 2014

With all of the brutality of doom, death, and crust at their behest, Vallenfyre have shown up with their second album, Splinters, the follow up to their immense 2011 debut, A Fragile King. From doom-laden atmospherics swathed in melancholy to pulverising violence, Splinters is a an absolute behemoth of an album. While the album is crushing and unforgivingly punishing, there’s a strong sense of vulnerability that subtly but no less effectively conveys the depths of this beast’s emotive heart.

Opening with a tortured guitar melody over grave chords, the ferocity of ‘Scabs’ is quickly unleashed, it’s with the seven-minute ‘Bereft’ that the array of Splinters’ colours begin to emerge. A slow and devastating crust/doom track of such musical and emotional heft, it’s only the eighty-six-second hell-bent barbarity of ‘Instinct Slaughter’ that can drag you out of its beautifully bruising miasma. What follows is an album that brings together the best (or, rather, worst) of the filth found at the very depths of extreme metal. Better than mere imitation or pastiche, there’s neither nostalgia nor idolatry in their sound. Instead, there’s a timelessness, a distinct and indisputable authenticity to Splinters that all strive for yet only the few achieve.

Having members of Paradise Lost, At The Gates, and My Dying Bride in the line-up should qualify this as a supergroup, but unlike most of that ilk, Vallenfyre is greater than the sum of its parts. Vocalist / guitarist Greg Mackintosh (he of Paradise Lost, of course) said that “Vallenfyre was something I felt utterly compelled to do. It was almost like I didn’t have a choice.” Neither do you. Buy it.

Vallenfyre – Splinters9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Scabs
  2. Bereft
  3. Instinct Slaughter
  4. Odious Bliss
  5. Savages Arise
  6. Aghast
  7. The Wolves Of Sin
  8. Cattle
  9. Dragged To Gehenna
  10. Thirst For Extinction
  11. Splinters