Vallenfyre – “Scabs” (Stereogum Premiere)
UK-based death metal quartet Vallenfyre was formed by Paradise Lost lead guitarist Gregor Mackintosh as an outlet to address the passing of his father, who lost a battle with lung cancer in 2009. After writing some music in the immediate aftermath of that loss, Mackintosh recruited a pretty incredible band — guitarist Hamish Glencross (of My Dying Bride), bassist Scoot (of Doom), and drummer Adrian Erlandsson (of At The Gates) — and in 2011, they released Vallenfyre’s debut LP, A Fragile King, a record dedicated to and largely about Mackintosh’s father: a tribute, a catharsis. It’s true that very little death metal deals with actual death, and in this way, A Fragile King contained depths rarely seen in such music. The songs themselves were a scathing blend of riff-based melodic death metal a la early Entombed, crust-punk, and gothic doom, with Mackintosh serving on vocals for the first time in his career. Early this year, Vallenfyre returned to the studio, this time flying to Salem, MA to work with in-demand producer/Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (Nails, Black Breath, Trap Them) at his Godcity Studio. It’s a great fit — Ballou excels at rich, organic tones, and he has brought out in Vallenfyre a sound that is both mournful and hugely, terrifyingly fierce. The album that came from those sessions, Splinters, is due in May, but we’ve got one of its songs for you to hear today. “Scabs” leads off Splinters, and it is a crushing, vitriolic thing full of grief and rage. And loud, loud guitars. Listen.
Splinters is out 5/13 via Century Media.