Review Summary: A brief 4-song EP full of new wave technical death metal done right, Vale of Pnath has potential to make an impact in the young-but-not-core scene.
Months ago, I heard about this band, and decided to check out their myspace to see if there was anything I‘d enjoy. Before clicking play, I looked around on their page to get a better sense of what these guys are trying to do musically. I immediately noticed the array of melodic and/or technical bands under their influences section, along with a scattering of well-known black metal artists. I was quite impressed, so I put on my headphones and clicked the sideways triangle icon (still not expecting much, as I have seen many a band that don’t come close to who they are trying to emulate).
My expectations were exceeded about 30 seconds in, as the beginning of “A Witness To” started swirling in my head with moderately high-pitched screams, a simple but fitting drum pattern accompanied by distorted guitar, and some lower-pitched growls giving way to a brief breakdown. The first thought that came to mind vocals wise was “This sounds like Malone, but not as shriek-y sounding.” After hearing the other songs, not only did the vocals sound similar, but musically too.
What this brief 4-song EP does, it does well. The melodic/technical nature is very reminiscent to Arsis, but there are factors which set them apart from rip-off status. First of all, the bass in this EP can be heard at various points, and is, to be blunt, awesome. From the excellent fill in the aforementioned “A Witness To” to some sweep-picked goodness heard in the crushing intro of “Dens of Inequity”, the bass is outstanding when heard. Guitar-wise, there are riffs aplenty, and set the tone for the album with their technical/melodic nature. Getting back once more to the Arsis comparison, the intro to “Carcosa” is very similar to the one found in the metal-classic “A Diamond for Disease”. You’ll hear it immediately, the “dununananana, dununananana” pseudo-cresendo in the beginning of the song. While definitely not ADFD (what is?), “Carcosa” is the possibly the best out of the 4 songs. It has some “dweedle-doo” sweeping, and a lead/solo around 1:40 which is very impressive and stands alone as the best moment of the album.
Other notes are that the vocals are mostly monotone, higher-pitched black-metal-esque screams, there are a few non-core breakdowns to break-up the pace, and a couple songs have a bit of filler. This is still a very young band, and are currently looking for a drummer.
Overall, Vale of Pnath’s self-titled EP as a whole should yield interest from major record labels (ahem, Willowtip, ahem) with its impressive technical drumming, bass, and guitar-work. This band from Denver has potential to be a household name in the technical death metal genre, if they continue putting out material of this quality.
- All 4 songs are a great blend of melodic/technical goodness
- Catchy, groovy riffs
- The Bass
- Little variety and vocal range demonstrated
- On the short side
- A bit of filler