Vallenfyre: 11/09/2017 –Rebellion Manchester 2017

It is a well-known fact that weather comes and goes with today being no exception. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the North of England where it rains intermittently from somewhere between a misty haze to a torrential downpour. Tonight we are back in Manchester to catch Vallenfyre, 2 parts Paradise Lost in the shape of Greg Mackintosh and Waltteri Väyrynen and 1 part ex-My Dying Bride with Hamish Glencross. Vallenfyre are an interesting blend of death, doom, grind and crust, all shaken up and emptied out so that in their own words, Vallenfyre don’t even know what they are, but whatever it is, Vallenfyre know how to do it and they do it real well.

Set List

  1. Born to Decay
  2. Messiah
  3. Odious Bliss
  4. Degeneration
  5. Scabs
  6. Instinct Slaughter
  7. An Apathetic Grave
  8. Nihilist
  9. Cathedrals of Dread
  10. Dead World Breathes
  11. Savages Arise
  12. The Merciless Tide
  13. Kill All Your Masters
  14. Ravenous Whore
  15. Splinters
  16. Desecration

Vallenfyre are playing tonight at Rebellion, a decent little venue just at the bottom of Deansgate Train Station and its small size is perfect for such an intimate setting. Tonight, Vallenfyre a supported by Wolfbastard and with almost military precision, Wolfbastard are on the stage as directed at 19:30. Wolfbastard are relatively local to Manchester, coming from the nearby city of Oldham. Now, Oldham may be as close to Yorkshire as you can get without leaving Greater Manchester, but the music that Wolfbastard play comes from a much more northern origin, Wolfbastard have honed their sound to that of Norwegian black metal with grindcore influences. The band themselves do not waste time wearing corpse paint or wearing leather, a simple Burzum and Darkthrone t-shirt will suffice as they crash through songs such as ‘Sick in the Bath’ and ‘Raped by Satan’. Interestingly enough, Wolfbastard swap between the vocals of guitarist Dez and bassist Si with their listed vocalist Joe Dolan conspicuously absent. Although Wolfbastard are playing to a relatively empty room, the band make the most of it with their amusing self-depreciating quips about being shit and/or tossers, however, the guitar of Dez is relatively weedy tonight, caught somewhere in a hinterland between classic black metal and death metal, but special credit goes to drummer Dave Buchan whose beats and rhythms kept Wolfbastard interesting and when coupled with their non-friendly/friendly stage persona, Wolfbastard were enjoyable.

Following on from Wolfbastard are Implore, a band which plays a combination of death/crust and grind. Implore also share their home with Vallenfyre at Century Media Records and are currently touring in support of their upcoming second album ‘Subjugate’, released on the 22nd September. Tonight, Implore are loud, in fact, for a small venue such as Rebellion, Implore are actually too loud, not a fault on their part, but the sound engineering who for Implore, have got the sound totally wrong. Each beat from the drums did their best to pummel you with blunt force trauma and unfortunately, a simple sound engineering mistake made Implore quite difficult to listen to, let alone enjoy. Implore did seem to get off on the wrong foot, guitarist Petro seemed to have trouble from the off with his guitar causing him to swap guitars almost immediately. However, what sullied the Implore set more than anything was their incessant need to continue to spit at each other from across the stage, the only saving grace being that none was aimed at the audience.

Ever crawling towards the pinnacle of the evening, Vallenfyre take to the stage at 21:10 amidst a pea-soup of a fog that would put Sisters of Mercy to shame. Vocalist Greg Mackintosh emerges from the smoke like a contestant from ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ sporting a black Mohawk and a long studded jacket which looks as if it was borrowed from Rob Halford himself whilst Vallenfyre cut through the opening one-two of ‘Born to Decay’ and ‘Messiah’ from their latest album ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’. Considering the sound was well, to put it bluntly, shit for Implore, Vallenfyre sounded nigh on perfect, the drums were at a manageable level and didn’t drown everything out and although Mackintosh whinged that his throat was ‘fucked’ on only the second night of the tour, he sounded spot on throughout the night, easily tearing through the more grind songs such as ‘Dead World Breathes’, ‘Nihilist’ and ‘Messiah’ to the songs which require much more melodic attention like ‘An Apathetic Grave’, ‘Splinters’ and ‘The Merciless Tide’.

As the musical brains behind Paradise Lost, Mackintosh is usually hidden behind his guitar, but with Vallenfyre, the man is unleashed and for a band which plays music with such grim lyrics, as a frontman, Mackintosh is exceptionally upbeat. Throughout the set, the friendship between Mackintosh and guitarist Hamish Glencross is more than apparent as they trade friendly insults back and forth, especially during a false start to ‘An Apathetic Grave’ where ‘somebody’ was out of tune. Mackintosh’s quips continue between songs creating an amusing interlude each time, as he shows his disdain for chavs in the songs ‘Degeneration’ and ‘Savage Arise’, politicians in ‘Kill All Your Masters’, an ex-wife for ‘Ravenous Whore’ and a borderline Frankie Boyle-esque tirade about the Catholic Church and their history of abuse during ‘Cathedrals of Dread’, you get the feeling that Greg Mackintosh could easy hop over the road to the famous Manchester Comedy Club and hold his own against the comedians.

As the set draws to a close, Mackintosh thanks the audience for their time and patience over Vallenfyre’s career, citing that the YouTube hit ratio for ‘Splinters’ has reached over half a million before declaring that this makes them the Taylor Swift of underground death/doom or whatever they are classed as these days, going as far to say that bands don’t care about genres and pigeonholed into playing a certain style. Ending their set at just over an hour, Vallenfyre admit that they are not conducting an encore because it is best reserved for glam rock and end their set on the bands very first release ‘Desecration’ from back in 2011. With rumours abound that ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ could well be the final Vallenfyre album, here’s to hoping that rumours is all that they are, as it is too early to call time on such a lively and fantastic band.

Adam McCann/ MHF Magazine



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