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vallenfyre splinters
Artist: Vallenfyre
Album: Splinters
Genre: Death/ Doom Metal
Release Date: 9th May 2014
Label: Century Media

Album Review

UK's VALLENFYRE is back with a sophomore effort- raw, dark, and moody. Right from the opening riffs of ‘Scabs,’ one may wonder if PARADISE LOST decided to resurrect themselves in glorious, raw late 80s doom metal fashion (VALLENFYRE does feature their vocalist as the lead guitarist of PARADISE LOST). However, once the track picks up speed, listeners right off the bat will realize that this is going to be a bit different than the debut effort of ‘A Fragile King.’ The atmosphere is hazy, drawn out, and droning with the darkness that made them an impressive mark on the metal world, but everything just seems... faster. Like the band swapped out PARADISE LOST for INCANTATION's sound. The result is a heavier album, but much of the melancholy is lost on tracks like ‘Scabs’ and ‘Instinct Slaughter’ which definitely induce head-banging moments- especially due to the drums- but it somewhat feels forced. Other tracks like ‘Bereft’ and ‘Odious Bliss’ are more mid paced and cut emotionally with that spooky and haunting atmosphere that is still cloaked in distortion and screaming guitar passages that aren't just chugging that turns the music into more of a train than a band. The aggressive death metal elements are still there, but everything just feels natural.

Highlights can include ‘The Wolves Of Sin’ which features a very upbeat and catchy tempo halfway through the track that breaks the entire doom and gloom atmosphere of the album that can make or break a listener. New fans to VALLENFYRE will definitely enjoy the mix of fast and slow here. Those who are more seeking the death metal route with little respite in the guitars or pace will find ‘Thirst For Extinction’ about one of the heaviest and fastest tracks on the album with that same buzz saw tone to the guitars that the slower pieces have, but with plenty more bite to the music. The title track, ‘Splinters,’ is a bit of an anomaly as it tries to mix up tempos and speeds in the song, starting out with sharp, chugging riffs, slowing down a bit for drawn out sadness during the chorus, and then opting for almost a melodic, hardcore base interlude that shows a sudden bloom of experimentation that isn't seen on the other tracks and begs the question of why the band didn't try this before on some of the other tracks.

Perhaps it was a desire to be different from PARADISE LOST'S early history that VALLENFYRE has taken more of the death metal road this time as opposed to doom, but the result is still satisfying. While it kind of makes the album feel like a following of INCANTATION with its raw, fast, and throaty output, the band made sure to keep the doom elements still present, even if it is just in the a few guitar passages. New fans who are just getting into VALLENFYRE will find this possible slightly more of an attention grabbing effort than the debut that was slow, moody, and traded aggression for emotion. Those who enjoyed the debut more will probably feel this effort is a bit too heavy. The raw atmosphere isn't quite a polished for those who like the more production focused bands like DEICIDE or NOVEMBERS DOOM, but the haze is what makes this album quite special. One can easily sit back, turn off the lights, and get lost in 'Splinters' without going insane. It is a dark ride not meant for the faint of heart but definitely features a few moments that fans of almost any metal genre can enjoy.


01. Scabs - 3:36
02. Bereft - 7:11
03. Instinct Slaughter - 1:26
04. Odious Bliss - 4:09
05. Savages Arise - 2:40
06. Aghast - 5:15
07. The Wolves of Sin - 3:08
08. Cattle - 2:57
09. Dragged to Gehenna - 4:15
10. Thirst for Extinction - 2:07
11. Splinters - 6:27


Scoot- Bass
Adrian Erlandsson- Drums
Hamish Hamilton Glencross- Guitars
Gregor Mackintosh- Vocals, Guitars


Cover Picture

vallenfyre splinters


Music: 8
Sound: 7
Total: 7.5 / 10

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