Fookin' hell. Paradise Lost just wasn't heavy enough for you, eh, Greg?
It's funny, I always thought that Greg Mackingtosh was the one who took PL in the Depeche Mode direction. One doesn't rule out the other, I suppose, but I'm just not sure anymore. I remember reading less complimentary reviews of the first Vallenfyre outing (A Fragile King - 2011) and that I kind of disregarded it without even listening to it (hey, I can't check out everything, alright!) - perhaps because I'd hate for one of my favourite guitarists to disappoint me. After having listened to the second full-length, 'Splinters', the past couple of weeks, I probably have to go out and find that first CD!
'Splinters' is a marvellous collection of vile and spiteful songs that spit life directly in the face, an album that makes you want to grind your teeth and throw your fist into the air and swear at all that pretends that there's goodness in this world.
Without sounding dated at all, 'Splinters' treats us with the most dark and grim sounds of the eighties and early nineties; Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Napalm Death, Bathory, Nihilist and, yes, Paradise Lost. If you listen to the tune Bereft you'll most likely agree that this is a piece of metal that could've easily made it onto 'Lost Paradise' - even the way Greg sings it is indeed reminiscent of his long time band mate Nick Holmes. Come to think of it, hearing Mackintosh suddenly utilising these immensely brutal vocal chords, one could wonder why he doesn't do more vocal duties in his main band?
You could say that it's no wonder that this is a good album; the team around the guitarist come singer is one with the references in place. My Dying Bride guitarist Hamish Glencross, Doom bassist Scoot and finally Paradise Lost/At The Gates etc. drummer Adrian Erlandsson. Does it get much better in this genre? I think not.
If you like dark brutality inspired by the great extreme metal bands of yonder years and a genre span from doom to death thrash, I suggest you do what I'll do in a couple of days: get your arses to your nearest sounds supplier and throw the needed cash in his face to get hold of this piece of seriously grim metal. Very \m/