The Wise Man's Fear
Valley of Kings

I had really high hopes for this, as I saw the bands self described ‘fantasycore’, and was hoping for some sort of Blind Guardian or Bal-Sagoth deathcore mash up. Unfortunately what you get is some pretty standard, more commercial, if solid modern keyboard-heavy, metalcore/ tech/dent core that you’d find on Sumerian Records, except the difference is they have songs and themes based on mages, kings relics and such.

I assume the band is named after The King Killer series novel by Patrick Rothfuss, but other than song titles like “Tree of Life”. “Firefall” and “The Sands of Time”, there’s nothing that really makes this truly stand out as ‘fantasycore’, (no matter how many shirts you have it on) or anything more than the usual Bless the Fall, Motionless In White, Miss May I, Like Moths to Flames Hot Topic core.

Other than one tiny little flute flecked breakdown in “Tree of Life”,(which is pretty cool) this is pretty standard, growl, scream, sing core with some keyboards. It has its moments of shuddering djenty heft that’s sometimes pretty solid, but the clean vocals are the usually pretty whiny sort that the genre is filled with.

Which is a shame as the concept and story (“The lyrics describe this secret meeting between five of the greatest warriors to discuss the destruction of the relics that have been around since the evil monarch in the last album”), could have been epic as fuck had they used some true fantasy elements instead of relying on current,  more popular radio-friendly musical tropes like “The River and The Rock” and the closing title track. Still, occasionally the band hits on a solid more stern deathcore-y shudder and stomp as heard on “Sands of Time”, “The Door to Nowhere” or the album’s heaviest, more pure deathcore cut, “Firefall”.

Maybe bands like Ovids Withering or Lorelei set the bar too high, or label mates mates Currents have stolen the spotlight with The Way It Ends, but The Wise Man’s Fear missed a chance to so something different and special in the genre, had they truly played into the ‘fantasycore’ moniker instead of following predictable trends.

Maybe I should start a real fantasycore band…..

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 26th, 2020

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