Vale of Pnath
Between the Worlds of Life and Death

I am new to the Vale of Pnath fan club.  I’ve seen the logo over a number of years, however, I never heard them up until now.  This Colorado technical death metal act has been around since 2006 with 2 prior ep’s and 2 prior full lengths to boot.

After hearing Between the Worlds of Life and Death I immediately picked up their discography and could not be more impressed with this fine band.  Original guitarist Vance Valenzuela, Ken Sorceron, their vocalist since 2020, also played bass on this – return, however the band has hired Austin Rolla as their bassist, and new drummer, Gabe Seeber.  Gabe is in a million bands, active and for live purposes and is the live drummer for Decrepit Birth.  I met him on tour, in 2018, when I was back touring with Internal Bleeding and we were on that Bloodletting tour and I had a chance to hang out with him, share a beer and even got onstage with Decrepit Birth to sing one of their songs and the Cannibal Corpse song “I Cum Blood”, it was a blast and Gabe punishes the drums on this album.

This third album, Between the Worlds of Life and Death, is their shortest with 9 songs in 38 minutes.  “The Forgotten Path” is a 2-minute long intro, sounding like it’s the opening for some adventure movie, it’s very cool, just about a minute too long.  “Silent Prayer” erupts with the slow buildup and monstrous drumming with double bass drums and there is an orchestration buildup.  The song gets progressively more fierce and intense before a terrific growl erupts and the mid-paced build-up continues, right before a lethal blast and Ken has quite a killer set of pipes.  Erupting with great gutturals as well as some shrieking going on.  The orchestration is continuing and I am thinking, for a moment, am I listening to Fleshgod Apocalypse?  The abrupt slow down at the 2.30 mark will level cities nationwide and it comes out of nowhere with a very heavy guitar riff, and there are some smatterings of little blasts here and there and this rhythm section is on fire during this moment.  With how this song opens, I would have scratched the intro song and just made this the album opener – regardless this song is on fire!!

“Soul Offering” is blistering with some stop-and-start moments which have a bit of djent type sound and is heavy AF – hey I even catch a little piano ditty coming in and out and this song has ferocious blast beats and the riffs are played with technical precision.  There is a lot going on with this song, with a variety of speeds and various sounds.  Christ at around the 2.20 moment Gabe hits gravity blasts and guitar solos scorching our heads off and then piano moments all thrown in with this song.  That stop and start riffing pattern had me 2 steppin’ all damn day.  It’s fabulously brutal and choke-slam worthy.

“Shadow” is monstrous and you had better keep those headphones on low, because after the slow buildup that music, with an opening gravity brutal blast, will shred your eardrums inside out.  More orchestration and at this point I am beginning to finally realize the band is going more for that Symphonic Tech DM style.  There were some elements on prior releases, but never in such abundance.  It works well for the band and the shredding guitar solo at the 2.45 mark is rooted in classic metal and sounds great.

“Burning Light” closes out the album, coming right after an interlude, ugh, and the opening of this song with a start and stop almost polyrhythmic nature of this track is quite interesting and then the blasting pushes forth with more orchestral happenings in the background.   Some truly excellent vocals going on and I hear a little bit of blackened rasps being spat forth.  There are more solos, stop-and-start moments and tumultuous blasts going on throughout this song and the band ends with a strong number, indeed.  Between the Worlds of Life and Death is a strong album from Vale of Pnath, a band that were never on my radar, prior to this release, but now are.

The vast increase in orchestration throughout this album, has the band going the symphonic death metal route and this works well…be prepared, there is a lot more going on during these songs, then past albums and this type of genre can be, at times, a lot to absorb.  The production is loud, razor sharp and everything cuts through like a well-seasoned Ginzu knife.  Vicious album!

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
June 10th, 2024

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