Splinters is the best heavy album this year (so far). UK supergroup Vallenfyre holds its unholy presence in its own bastardly bleak, awesome element of doom, thrash, death– dark. It highlights all the best elements of dark and heavy music.
Whether closer to the doom spectrum in songs such as “Aghast” or the hellfire in a barrel discharge from “Cattle,” Splinters is loaded with pulverizing metal ferocity.
On the tail of his father’s passing, Gregor Mackintosh picked up a side project. From Halifax, England and signed to Century Records, Paradise Lost’s Mackintosh (vocals, guitar), My Dying Bride’s Hamish Glencross (rhythm and lead guitar), Doom and Extinction of Mankind’s Scoot (bass) and Paradise Lost and At The Gates’ Adrian Erlandsson (drums) join forces to operate under the name Vallenfyre. This “side project” flat out destroys Paradise Lost in terms of intensity and utter ferocity. To be accurate, this album can’t be described as a hit; it’s a slow and tremendous bludgeoning. Heavy and hard, Splinters is a must for any metalhead.
“The rage is deep inside / These scabs will never heal” — “Scabs” has the commanding arts of thrash and death and impressively changes its structure to add doom to the mix. The band announces a new method of brutal force delivery: a wicked blast of even more thrash. Redundancy, though avoided in wordsmithing, is also often underappreciated in terms of music. People love what they can remember and predict when it comes to the components of musical mathematics. Simply put, this album is smart, wicked, sharp, dangerous and absolutely horrid in all the best ways.
In all of its eleven tracks, one can hear new interests and discerning tastes, while not one song can be mistaken for another. Standout “Savages Arise” is a damning call to arms; “vile nightmares and threats” is just one way to describe the lyrical custody in this album. Dark psalms of distressing thoughts might be another. No matter the subgenre from which they came, when these musicians come together they bring with them the beast that is Vallenfyre.