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Vale Of Pnath - Accursed review

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Band: Vale Of Pnath
Album: Accursed
Release date: May 2019

01. Shadow And Agony
02. The Darkest Gate
03. Skin Turned Soil
04. Accursed
05. Audient Void
06. Obsidian Realm
07. Spectre Of Bone

Some bands throw everything at the wall just to see what sticks. Vale Of Pnath already know what sticks before they throw, and it makes for some top quality entertainment.

The cold and mechanical opening is an excellent choice for an intro as it establishes what will shortly become an all out assault on the senses, bludgeoning the listener with the band's perfected high-octane brand of technical death metal, spiked with black metal undertones and upbeat melodies that allow for momentary rests amid the onslaught. As a result of the album's brevity and directness, that intensity and energy is maintained throughout, which is a testament to their clarified songwriting style.

Accursed is a natural follow-up to the band's second full-length album, as it continues the trend of deviating from the slightly more "playful" and experimental vibe of The Prodigal Empire into more atmospheric, anchored territory. That isn't an inherently bad thing, but it could be construed as a sense of laziness or lack of creativity, especially after the departure of longtime guitarist Mikey Reeves. It could also just as easily be seen as a maturation of style, with its distinct approach a sought-after style by the band's founding members, which I'm more partial to. It's constrained as if weighed down by this mutually daunting, burdensome mood, but it works in the context of otherwise relentless blasting in your ears. They're kind of like sexual sadists -- they want to hurt you, but they want you to have a good time.

These Midwestern Americans are consistent in their efforts and despite various lineup changes, haven't had any significantly jarring differences in sound between albums. The formula remains the same but those wandering sessions of yore have been tied to a post like a disobedient dog, restricting the band but simultaneously forcing them to ensure their straightforward approach is airtight, which this release is testament to. With such a massive foundation upon which to build, why change if not for the sake of it? It's heavy, melodic, and pummeling; it's clear, concise, and unsurprising; it's Vale Of Pnath in every way you'd expect, save for one.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written on 22.09.2019 by I'm total pro; that's what I'm here for.

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