Vale of Pnath
II

After the band’s impressive 2008/9 EP, and a pretty well received full length debut, The Prodigal Empire in 2011, a lot of folks were hailing this Denver act as the new Arsis meets The Black Dahlia Murder of the scene, mixing shredding black/death metal with melodic death metal . But the band went a bit dark for 5 years, succumbed to line up issues and appeared to have missed the bus.

Well, armed with a new logo, some fresh faces ( though new throat Reece Deeter is indistinguishable from Ken Sarafin) and the same amount of skill and potential, Vale of Pnath is back, and ironically, the timing could not be better. With the likes of First Fragment, Archspire, The Zentih Passage and such making waves of late, this form of shreddy, overcharged modern tech tech is ‘in’, and Vale of Pnath are top notch at it.

That said, if you turn sour at this form of pristinely produced, melodic, hyper shredding tech metal , with some keyboards no less, this will make you hyperventilate.  But for fans of some of the aforementioned overthetoptechfuckery, the simply title II will put a smile on your face. It even leans even more into that category and less Arsis-y/Dahlia Murder-y and more pure tech death. That said, the shred is heavy handed here, with each song chock full of kinetic hyper noodling solos, and some keyboards adding some nice moments here and there as well.

Admittedly, the tracks do sort of melt into one eye bleeding tech death shred fest, and its sheer fun, but a few moments standout such as the dramatic start to standout “Klendathu” ( there needs to be more Starship Troopers themed metal in my opinion), and “Heart of Darkness”, the short lived acoustic restraint buried in the hyper active “The Horror in Clay”‘, or the surprise pacing of “Reaver”. But it lacks some of the adventurous,  playful moments like Gorod and First Fragment have injected into their take on tech death. II is full on, straight up continual shred, and that might be it’s downfall in some’s eyes. It could use more songs like the well developed penultimate track ( it should really have been the closer instead in “Unburied”) and other standout, “The Serpent’s Lair”, which has everything from  a nifty little orchestral breakdown to a quick middle eastern bridge.

II is a fine, fine album, but its up against some stiff competition from some other releases, and the band might have waited too long to strike with a follow up to The Prodigal Empire, as I’m not sure tech death fans were waiting with baited breath for the next Vale of Pnath album. But I’m glad it’s here, and Im enjoying the heck out of it. Let’s hope III does not take 5 years to surface.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 20th, 2016

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