I was waiting in anticipation for the lineup of the Decibel Magazine Tour, knowing that the mighty At The Gates was going to be the headliner. The lowest band on the bill was called Vallenfyre, which intrigued me on the name alone. The band is comprised of At The Gates drummer Adrian Erlandsson, Paradise Lost guitarist/vocalist Greg Mackintosh, lead guitarist Hamish Glencross of My Dying Bride, and Doom bassist Scoot. The band's sophomore LP, Splinters, is a 44 minute assault that will satisfy lovers of HM-2 soaked guitars and guttural vocals.

Opener "Scabs" is chaotic from the very start, with guitar feedback and pounding drums. A dizzying lead line loops over a wall of chords before the song takes off into an uptempo riff that will surely get heads banging. Mackintosh's vocals are brutal and often of guttural delivery, but his lyrics maintain clarity and are intelligible for the most part. The aforementioned crusty, HM2 soaked guitars are the signature sound of the album. Kurt Ballou's production lends itself well to the band, and Erlandsson's drums punch through the mix with a solid drum room tone that shines above the wall of chaotic guitars. "Bereft" is a sludgy, downtempo romp that lasts over 7 minutes, while "Odious Bliss" trudges along at a breakneck tempo, before erupting into a pit inducing breakdown. My favorite track on the album, "Savages Arise" opens with barrage of brutal riffs before heading into another breakdown, and even segue into a crusty d-beat two step riff.

The second half of the album is home to two scathing tracks in "Cattle" and "Thirst For Extinction", the latter of which ends with a devastating mosh riff. "Dragged To Gehenna" is easily one of the heaviest tracks on the album, with palm muted chords and sludgy single run riffs aplenty. Album closer and title track "Splinters" is a hell of a sludgy beast that maintains its slow devastation over 6 minutes.

I cannot wait to experience Vallenfyre in a live setting, although I wish I had longer hair to whip around to some of these riffs. Splinters is available now via Century Media, and the band will be releasing a limited 7" record that is comprised of a B-Side from the Splinter's sessions, as well as another track that was previously exclusive to a Decibel Magazine Flexi. Stream "Savages Arise" below: