If I were to choose my top 5 metal albums of the past decade, Agalloch's "Marrow of the Spirit" and Vallenfyre's "A Fragile King" would be numbers 1 and 2 (respectively) on that list. Which means today was like metal Christmas, with new albums from both bands dropping this morning.
Vallenfyre - Splinters. While metal "supergroups" are more often miss than hit (*cough* Barren Earth *cough*), Vallenfyre absolutely breaks the mold. Masters of their craft, these members of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, and At The Gates have created something incredible here. Their particular brand of doom/crust/death metal was on brutal display on their first album, and "Splinters" just ratchets everything up to 11. This album is a huge, plodding, wounded beast leaving a howling wake of destruction as it crushes everything in it's path on it's way to death. Heavy as fuck with brutality to spare, this thing is just...massive. I'd be shocked if it didn't end up near the top of most of the "Best of 2014" lists come year end. Check out Odious Bliss
for a taste.
Agalloch - The Serpent and the Sphere. I've been listening to this one quite a bit (via the NPR Stream
) over the last week. It's a bit of departure from Agalloch's usual sound, but still retains their hallmark of meticulously crafted soundscapes with a combination of brutality and beauty. It's not going to top "Marrow of the Spirit", but there's not much that can. A solid 8/10.