Vale of Pnath is an interesting band, even with quite a few member changes during the years I personally think all their albums are great. They somehow seem to be immune to it leading towards a bad album every now and then. Maybe that is exactly why the band is always up for experimenting, while making it work is due to the strong glue and vision Vance Valenzuela (guitar) has who keeps it together (I should interview him one day to find out).
“Shadow and Agony” strikes me first and it’s such a scary, horror movie like intro fitting the Lovecraft techdeath masters! Banger after banger Vale of Pnath is hitting me with, they simply don’t want me to go anywhere as I give this album a spin. There is such a great flow throughout the album, time just flies by and your neck is sore after all the headbanging yet there is enough room to breathe at just the right times so it doesn’t break. Even with a great flow, a red thin line, every song sticks out on its own. It isn’t just a simple rinse and repeat for seven songs straight. Something I find hard to find albums which does great on both areas, making the album have a wicked flow and be great end to end but at the same time letting the songs speak for itself so I can just choose one at random and enjoy it. Very well done, it’s certainly not something I take for granted!
“So Jimmy what song do you recommend I listen to first?” Fact is I choose “The Darkest Gate” only due to it being the single I’ve heard so many times before this album dropped it’s just stuck in my head, and rightfully so as it is a killer track. You could definitely take any pick and you would be pleased, they have different elements to their songs that works good on the tracks they are meant for. Both “Obsidian Realm” and “Spectre of Bone” are epic finishers with a more atmospheric and techdeath side to them than the first half of the album for example (Vale of Pnath seems to have a patter to end with the longest, most epic track).
What a year for the technical side of death metal it’s been so far! First we got the riff feast from Equipoise, followed with a phenomenal experience in Warforged (which also brings a lot of black metal influences into the mix) and now Vale of Pnath shows they don’t want to be any worse with their strongest album yet. What do these three bands have in common? They have been experimenting with their sound and executed it well! The path Vale of Pnath has walked has led them to this sound, album after album has drawn them close and close to what finally became Accursed. This is a big change for the band who are now closer to being called a technical black metal band than ever before. I welcome this change with open arms with Accursed being the best I’ve heard from Vale of Pnath so far and an album of the year contender in my book! This makes all my metal sensors tingle the right way and fans of extreme metal have to give this a listen.
Written by J.B.
Label: Willowtip Records
For fans of: Enfold Darkness and The Black Dahlia Murder
Release date: May 17th, 2019
Favorite song: The Darkest Gate
Score: 5/5 Masterpiece