VALLENFRYE - A Fragile King CD
Century Media Records
Genre: Death Metal
Yeah I must admit that I was on the excitement bandwagon when this supergroup's debut first came out. Then again why not since it has members of PARADISE LOST and MY DYING BRIDE going back to their death / doom roots as it were. Although I've gotta say that 2011 has been a crowded left hand path type of year when it comes to death metal. So for the casual observer this is probably an incredible release and I even saw it listed on some interweb hipster's best of the year squirt log. Of course I got to hear about a hundred times more death metal releases than any casual observer or hipster retard could handle. I'd expect nothing short of greatness from the likes of these vets and A Fragile King delivers on that. If you want another ENTOMBED / DISMEMBER injection for 2011 than this will fill your hole. The problem is that there are a ton of other acts out there, younger acts, doing the same damm thing. I find those bands to be far more exciting especially with the rough around the edges production values. Also I consider this a one shot, play by the numbers type release. A bunch of vets get together to play some o'l Swedish death metal for old time's sake. It's not that their day jobs (aka: their full time bands) are in jeopardy of breaking up. VALLENFRYE is basically a side project for these guys to vent their aggression.
At first everything seems to be on par with the program. Opener "All Will Suffer" and it's follow-up "Desecration" are both worthy contenders for crushing your sorry ass. From that point on it begins to resemble a decent compilation of your favorite bands from the past delivering Sunlight recording studio death doom doses. Sure it's decent with cool riffs, a continuous pounding rhythm and of course Greg Mackintosh's vocal croak is a damm good surprise especially since sitting side stage for so long with PARADISE LOST albeit creating some great music while there. The whole of this release is mainly filler old school material with a few exceptions. Not so strange is that I found the best being the more doom-centric cuts like the first half's “Cathedrals of the Dread” and the latter part of the release's “Seeds” to feature quality riffage. Then again that's to be expected when you have MY DYING BRIDE's Hamish Hamiliton Glencross generating the rhythm guitar parts. There's some other guy called Mully who also recreates past greatness like an acolyte should. Along with vocals Mackintosh is also credited with some lead work which is a no brainer. Chalk it up as a decent side project and hope that Mackintosh is still in this type of energetic mood when the next writing and recording session for PARADISE LOST comes around.