A Fragile King

BY Laura WiebePublished Nov 1, 2011

Twenty years ago or so, UK dark metallers Paradise Lost were a very heavy band. Listening to Vallenfyre's A Fragile King, conceived and written by Paradise Lost's Gregor Mackintosh, those doom and death metal foundations transform from distant memories to in-your-face statements of the now. What first arose out of personal anguish ― grief over the death of Mackintosh's father ― turned into a collective time-travelling performance featuring members of Paradise Lost, At the Gates, My Dying Bride, Doom and Extinction of Mankind. Gothic undertones and atmospheres echo in its rafters, but A Fragile King is foremost a brutal project, ominously trudging for one moment then bursting ahead into violent, powerful expressions of angst, frustration and disgust. The riffs have a (mostly) slow, barely (sometimes anti) melodic simplicity, while the leads are sparse and eerie or angry assaults. The drums are persistently, rhythmically pummelling and the textures are agitated and dirtily harsh. It's a "tried and true" death/doom combination, and Vallenfyre prove it's ferociously effective a few decades down the road.
(Century Media)

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