Skinfather – None Will Mourn
For those who didn’t know, Entombedcore is becoming the standard moniker for bands who mesh Entombed-style death metal with the hardcore stylings of bands such as Converge. Bands such as Trap Them, Nails, and Black Breath have spearheaded the whole Entombedcore movement and given rise to many similar bands. Skinfather is perhaps the most recent of these bands to gain the spotlight. The first signee to Nails drummer Taylor Young’s new label, Streetcleaner Records, the band’s debut record None Will Mourn was also produced by Young, who did a great job of capturing the band’s raw intensity. The band takes their name after a song of the same name featured on the Dismember album Indecent and Obscene, which is probably not a coincidence, considering the razor sharp buzzsaw riffs on display throughout None Will Mourn are clearly derived from Dismember and the likes. The grooves call to mind early Entombed, albeit soaked in a hardcore attitude. The riffs are thick, meaty and mean. Not a game changer by any means, but a worthy addition to the growing Entombedcore empire.
Vallenfyre – Splinters
[Century Media Records]
Vallenfyre is a crusty death/doom project that was formed by Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh, and features members of bands such as At the Gates, My Dying Bride, and Extinction of Mankind. The band’s 2011 debut, A Fragile King, was a vicious slab of death and doom which paid homage to the tape-trading days of old, and was released to much critical acclaim. Mackintosh originally started Vallenfyre as an outlet for grief in response to his late father’s death, and he has very obviously channeled this further into the creation of Splinters, which tops its predecessor in nearly every way. Dark crust permeates every orifice of this album, punctuated by slimy grooves, doomy crawls, d-beat trudges and haunting drone melodies reminiscent of Mackintosh’s work in Paradise Lost. Mackintosh also handles vocal duty in Vallenfyre, and he sounds like a straight-up demon. The imitable Kurt Ballou helmed the knobs for Splinters, and from the organic drums to the buzzsaw riffs, his signature production is all over this album and suits it perfectly. Hints of old Napalm Death, Repulsion and Entombed are scattered throughout Splinters, and but this album is no mere homage to the bands that are clearly near and dear the members of Vallenfyre; no, Splinters is a declaration of Vallenfyre’s might, fueled by raw emotion and expressed through the primal power of old school Swedish-influenced death metal. Highly recommended.
Enabler – La Fin Absolue Du Monde
Even though they’re technically not Entombedcore in the traditional sense, Enabler is still most certainly worth your time. This Milwaukee-based trio churn out some of the most intense and vicious metallic hardcore that will ever enter your earholes, and with their third full-length, La Fin Absolue Du Monde, it’s going to be difficult to ignore Enabler for much longer. La Fin is a very dynamic and powerful record. There are tastes of d-beat, thrash metal and noise rock, all laid out over a solid hardcore foundation ripe with emotional weight and melodic sensibilities. The elusive French title of the album translates to “the absolute end of the world”, which is a fitting title, considering the hardcore ferocity on display here. What’s immediately more prominent on La Fin when compared with Enabler’s last album, All Hail the Void, is their newfound attention to melody. What hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that these guys know how to write a good song. Take ‘Balance of Terror’, for instance. It kicks off with a screaming rise-and-fall riff before breaking into a sharp, chugging riff that carries the song into its chorus. This is but one example of some of the dynamics Enabler are able to pull off within the course of a single song. Hardcore anthems abound throughout the album, and even has an almost progressive song in ‘Felony’, which is by far the longest track on the album at almost six minutes. La Fin Absolue Du Monde may get a little repetitive at times, but anybody looking for a great metallic hardcore record this year should look no further.