Label: Century Media Records
Seven years have already passed since Vallenfyre’s first released record; an effort that aimed to ease Gregor Mackintosh’ father’s recent loss. Loss and death in general have always been the main wells of inspiration for this Brit, who through grief found an escape and thus redemption. Judging by Paradise Lost’s guitarist’s commentary featured in Hammer, he noted that this Vallenfyre project would become in time a kind of trilogy, so maybe we’ve reached the band’s final studio release. And since we are dealing with the most qualitative of the group’s three releases, “Fear Those Who Fear Him” is basically a swansong; unless the pockets of its creators say otherwise. The departure of Erlandsson and Scoot brought Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) and Hamish Hamilton Glencross (formerly Dying Bride) to Vallenfyre, whose replacements did not alter the band’s sound at all. Generally there aren’t any huge differences comparing this effort to the previous albums. That Swedish aesthetic that overflows from the album reminds us of the first Entombed and Dismember records, while the crust elements are perfectly matched by a mournful atmosphere and suffocating vocals. Most compositions are short in duration, albeit not necessarily a fast-paced rhythm of D-beat (‘Born To Decay’); a rhythm we meet frequently in the album (‘Degeneration’, ‘Kill All Your Masters’, ‘The Soldier of Christ’). Dry sound, dark, that bridges the crust of the ‘10s with the metal melodies of the early ’90s, while in the songs that last over 5 minutes (‘An Apathetic Grave’, ‘Cursed From The Womb’ and ‘The Merciless Tide’) Mackintosh’s virtues find the necessary air to breathe and sow the characteristic dull British death / death trademark sound. We will come across references to later Celtic Frost and the early Paradise Lost (in riffs). They’re compositions that poison everything in their way, like an exodus to catharsis. Brilliant!