By Dr. Abner Mality

WOOOAAARGGGHH! So this is Vallenfyre! Missed the first album, picked this up in atonement....and they will probably be picking tiny bits of my body out of the wall for the next few months. This shit is heavy! And there's not one second of this beautiful chunk of brutality that will not squash you flat and make you like it!

In case you didn't know, Vallenfyre is the total death metal side band of Paradise Lost's Gregor Mackintosh, where he gets to cut loose with the truly gnarly stuff that Paradise Lost just can't do anymore! Joining him are drummer Adrian Erlandsonn late of Carcass, Cradle of Filth and more as well as veterans of bands like Doom and the Haunted. On "Splinters", these guys have created a magnificent rotten brew that mixes early Swedish death metal, Celtic Frost and the death/doom of very early Paradise Lost to tremendous effect. The guitar sound just absolutely ROARS with raw, buzzy power! And when that guitar sound is harnessed to the awesome crushing riffs we hear on "Splinters", the result will make any death metal fan's toes curl in glee!

It's all good! To get an idea of how powerful the album is, I focus on three consecutive tracks..."Bereft" is mournful, doomy and deathly sounding much like the long gone Paradise Los album "Gothic"...the guitar solo hits EXACTLY that same doleful note. Follow-up "Instinct Slaughter" speeds things up to a hurricane blur, with the massive crunch of good old crust punk. And then the real killer is "Odious Bliss", where the Celtic Frost influences become more apparent and mix with a sound like early Grave. DAMN!

So it continues through the rest of these relentless yet catchy cuts. Each track is worthy of prolonged headbanging and Gregor's musty growls also fit Vallenfyre to a T. It wraps up with the agonizing doom of the title track...a brutal funeral dirge.

Shit, don't let me talk about this anymore...go out and buy the goddamn thing! That is , if you're not afraid...