Crust, death, doom, dirt fans rejoice Yorkshire’s finest purveyors of filth Vallenfyre are back with album number three. Really this lot should need no introduction at all. Spearheaded by Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) and Hamish Glencross (ex My Dying Bride) this reminds us of the albums we grew up listening to by their former bands along with some authentic and hideously gnarly stuff from the death, doom and punk groups spewing out vitriol and disgust in the 80’s. The way the world is going there’s plenty of reason to revel in this stew of hate and injustice too; hell it might actually spur the apathetic new generations out there into action and revolt. I doubt it though, they would probably run away from this on very first exposure but if you are looking for the sound of a full-scale riot kicking off, come on in, just be sure to duck on your way. With the big Swede Erlandsson obviously not being available Waltteri Väyrynen has been drafted in from Paradise Lost to recording member here too. Naturally the band are expanded from a trio with live assaults, of which I am certainly hungering for more of, but for the time being lets bang on with this beast.
Just looking at the song titles here makes me think of old singles and albums by bands such as Icons Of Filth and the scummy vitriol that the likes dripped in their heyday are here from the start. The grave dirt is uncovered with grim opening part ‘Born To Decay’ setting things up with gnarly guitar riffs and an apocalyptic doom laden Autopsy all of its own. They might be missing a Swede but there’s more than a small vibe of mouldering Entombed about it before they move into ‘Messiah’ gradually building up the pace and pulverising with blasts and grizzled vocals. Short, sharp and savage, things have totally kicked off and the grit and grime of the production gives everything a hefty coating that you really feel yourself wallowing in like you are sinking into a sewage works. There’s 12 tracks to embalm yourself in here ranging from under a minute to nearly 7. The band play equally in measured approaches between very fast and violent and slow and oozing and batter us either way with heaviness. You are going to hear nuances of all your favourite bands here and at times it feels like they are saluting both their own and others past. The palpable sluggishness of ‘An Apathetic Grave’ is tense and has the bygone days of Yorkshire trinity PL, MDB and Anathema coursing through it; just wait till those weeping guitar lines call out, it’s like stepping right back in time. “My body decays” roars Mackintosh and you are in no doubt that all is wrong in this world. Sitting next to it and flinging excrement like an unruly toddler we have ‘Nihilist’ 2 minutes of tear your head off and shit down your neck unfettered abuse. It’s a glorious bordering on D-Beat racket that’s going to stick out live and cause massive injuries in the pit. The stench from ‘Amongst The Filth’ has more time to spread disease and bounces away with a big hook and groove about it, there’s some razor-wire guitar work just in case its’ stranglehold hadn’t quite got through; no escape here as enforced by a meaty death belch.
The message of death laden anarchy that is ‘Kill All Your Masters’ is just what I was talking about earlier, an incitement to unrest in musical form. Soundtrack for revolution dropped ‘The Merciless Tide’ slithers out the swamp and crawls with stalking tenacity, smothering you every step of the way “to the death.” 40 seconds long ‘Dead World Breathes’ explodes but still manages to have a slow ominous rumble about it; blink and you might miss that but no chance of dodging the heft of the blustery bass and grinding grating guitars on ‘Soldier Of Christ,’ perhaps their ‘Onwards Christian Soldiers’ of a previously mentioned band in message at least. The album may only be 39 minutes long but it’s far from all comfortable sailing and its longest number ‘Cursed From The Womb’ proves a harrowing journey of “catastrophic maladies” that is certainly going to leave you feeling like a shower before daring press play again. With ‘Temple Of Rats’ flailing in like a bunch of bankers collecting pay-day bonuses it’s a galloping race to the finish line and after it suddenly downs-tools and silence descends you are definitely going to need a few minutes of silence to reflect on it all.
There are very few things strong and stable about life in the UK at the moment but Vallenfyre are definitely one of them!
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)