You have to hand it to Gregor Mackintosh: his Vallenfyre project could have been a flash in the pan, a nice distraction from his day job with Paradise Lost, but instead, it’s a living, breathing, snarling beast of a band, one which has spat out three albums and two EPS in just six years. Along with fellow guitarist and former Solstice/My Dying Bride member Hamish Glencross, the Yorkshireman has created a monster, a rotting abomination that feeds on everything from Discharge to Autopsy, and gets more powerful with every release.
So it’s no surprise that Vallenfyre’s latest effort is an exercise in sonic savagery, an opus which sees Mackintosh and co. both turn up the grimy crust dial even higher and push their punishing death/doom into more fetid waters.
And it works. Messiah, Nihilist and Kill All Your Masters are whirlwinds of caustic, skin flaying grind, displaying the rhythmic imagination of FETO-era Napalm Death. Plus, they’re made all the more potent by a searing guitar tone, engineered once again by Converge’s Kurt Ballou.
But when Vallenfyre drop the pace down several notches, they’re just as effective: Cursed From The Womb and An Apathetic Grave could only have been conceived by men who’ve spent years dragging haunting, claustrophobic music from out of the shadows, giving life to feelings of torment and hopelessness.
Fear Those Who Fear Him, then, is a regression rather than a progression, a rawer, more volatile record than what’s gone before it. And in this day in age, that makes perfect sense.