Featuring Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh and former My Dying Bride guitarist Hamish Glencross, Vallenfyre is a British death metal band that clicks all the right boxes for me: sludgy guitar tone, mix of fast and doomy tempos, and vocals that are low and gruff.
Fear Those Who Fear Him is Vallenfyre's third album, and second since hooking up with Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou in the producer chair. If you're looking for something that sounds "modern" like many of the other death metal albums that there seems to be an unending supply of these days, you should skip this one. FTWFH seaps from the speakers with a crusty and abrasive tone that melds the sounds like a D-beat band playing death metal covers. Yeah, I know!
For the uninitiated, Mackintosh does double duty in Vallenfyre, supplying lead vocals as well as guitars. As I mentioned earlier, his singing style is low and gruff, and at times reminds me of the mighty Matti Kärki (Carnage, Dismember). Ballou—as always—does an insanely great job tracking the guitar and drums. Listening to the new album on headphones I could truly hear how the guitars slither next to each other in the mix. On the slower songs ("An Apethetic Grave" being a fine example), drummer Waltteri Väyrynen fills out the open spaces with cymbal and tom fill nuances.
Vallenfyre also serve up enough speed demon-like tracks to keep the short attention span folks in check. Väyrynen even busts out some blast parts on some songs. Again, some of this stuff could easily fall into the D-beat and grind categories.
I could see myself spinning Fear Those Who Fear Him pretty consistently for the next few months, and beyond.