Monday, 8 April 2019

Vale Of Pnath - Accursed


Labels: Willowtip Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date; 17 May 2019

Tracklist:

1. Shadow And Agony
2. The Darkest Gate
3. Skin Turned Soil
4. Accursed
5. Audient Void
6. Obsidian Realm
7. Spectre Of Bone

Following my quick-fire review of UK melodic death metal act Foul Body Autopsy over the weekend, I wanted to carry on in the same vein and when I noticed the name Vale Of Pnath peering at me amongst a barrage of emails, I knew what I had do to. Vale Of Pnath is a band that I've been familiar with for a long time. Dating back to 2006, they've made waves with Tribunal Records and more recently Willowtip Records, who've been a safe haven for many a tech-death leading light in recent years. Three years on from second full-length "II" come this new EP, which should show 2019 what true US tech-death is. 

The Willowtip Records I remember was the one featuring Crowpath, Carphanaum and Arsis. The label fell off my radar for a while but thanks to Vale Of Pnath and their latest EP, the label is well and truly back in plain sight. The ambient/electronic opener Shadow And Agony is fearsome as it prepares you for the bludgeoning to come. Vale Of Pnath does not disappoint as The Darkest Gate reigns over you with pummelling drums, high-pitched shrieks and bass/guitar fretboard mayhem. This is extreme in every way, yet VoP manages to throw in plenty of melody to ward off those evil demons.

This is a slickly produced record it has to be said, but not the detriment of VoP of their chosen sound. Skin Turned Soil features subtle electronic/symphonic elements that nestle beneath the other instrumentation and who’s textures really help bring it all to life. There’s no rest between Skin Turned Soil and Accursed. On Accursed VoP manages to fit an insane amount of music into not much time at all. Most of that time is filled with absolutely barbaric kick-drumming and precise guitar-work that proves exactly why the band is praised so highly. 

After the brief but creepy ambience of Audient Void, it’s back to the intensity with penultimate song Obsidian Realm. The break in VoP’s death metal actually helps their music to stand out more and its no exception here. Longer in playing time and more technical from the off, it’s hard to keep up and even with the melancholic mid-section, there’s no solace to be had. “Accursed” acts almost like a throwback to when technical death metal was snapping at the heels of it’s more mainstream melodic cousin. That’s not a disservice though, as this is both brutal and infectious at the same time. 

EP closer Spectre Of Bone takes things to a terrifying conclusion. Terrifying only because of the virtuosity of the band’s playing. Song-structures throughout this EP are perfect and nothing so far this year in tech-death terms gets close to “Accursed”. Vale Of Pnath has already proclaimed that 2019 will be their biggest year yet and it’s hard to argue with them after hearing this. Absolutely brutal. Just you try and keep that grin off your face while blasting this!

You can stream the title-track "Accursed" via Vale Of Pnath's bandcamp page below:-



You can pre-order the EP on all formats (vinyl, cd and digital) above too.

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