Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him (Century Media)

Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him (Century Media)

Terrifying. Which is just what we wanted from them...

“Twelve songs. No samples. No triggers. No bullshit. Instead you get crucifyingly loud amps, ferocious drumming, and vicious vocals spitting out hate and venom. Raw honest brutality. No conformity. No compromise. A murderous nightmare vomiting poisonous bile onto a twisted world”.

It’s not often I’d trust the words of someone directly involved with the making of an album implicitly. They’ve invested so much blood, sweat, toil and tears in the creation of their newborn child that often reason takes a back seat, objectivity gets lost and… well, you know the point I’m trying to make. But those opening words, spoken by Vallenfyre prime mover Gregor Mackintosh in advance of the release of this, the band’s third album, really do sum up the record perfectly, with both truth and clarity. I really couldn’t have put it better than he did myself, but I’m going to try…

Fear Those Who Fear Him sits perfectly in the Vallenfyre canon, augmenting that which has gone before without moving any mountains or breaking new ground. But would we want it to? Crust-infested death metal is what you expect from the band, and that’s just what you get. Amongst the Filth adds a brooding, early Celtic Frost doom to proceedings, whilst standout cut An Apathetic Grave melds the obvious My Dying Bride/Paradise Lost influences into something altogether more desperate and disgusting.

Mackintosh and his cohorts Hamish Hamilton Glencross (guitars and bass) and Waltteri Väyrynen (drums), augmented by the superb production of Kurt Ballou pull no punches, take no prisoners and offer no quarter over the course of these dozen tracks. Pure filth and fury from start to finish with absolutely no concession to modern mores or proclivities, this celebration of age-old purulence is at once engaging and horrifying, but of course the band (or the audience, I suspect) wouldn’t have it any other way. When the bowel-crushing heaviness of Kill Your Masters subsides, only to be replaced by more of the same in the shape of The Merciless Tide, you don’t find yourself thinking ‘God, please make it stop’ – you turn the stereo up and throw yourself into the record even harder, a willing slave to the excessively destructive, unremittingly depressive noise belching out of your speakers.

Ballou is the man for the job of producing this – the sheer physicality of the sound he creates out of this maelstrom of filth is reminiscent of his excellent work with High on Fire – and the resultant feeling of grubbiness his touch leaves on you will make you feel like having a bath as soon as you’ve finished listening to the record. This is good, this is only natural, and is entirely the feeling one should get from this kind of music. Immerse yourself in the sound, cleanse yourself with the fire of the riffs – it’s the only way…

If you’re not already a fan of Vallenfyre it’s doubtful that anything here is going to change that – it’s simply too heavy for the casual bystander – but if you’re already part of the clan then you’re going to have an awful lot of ‘fun’ with this one…

Fear Those Who Fear Him is out now on Century Media records.

Michael Stronge
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