STRIGOI – Abandon All Faith
December 22, 2019, a month ago
No word of an exaggeration: Vallenfyre were one of the most exciting new bands of the past decade. When Paradise Lost’s Gregor Mackintosh delivered the craggly death/doom with that band, it was an incredibly surprising and vital breath of fresh air from one of the genre’s kings. After the unfortunate demise of Vallenfyre in 2018, Mackintosh left a hole in the extreme scene, but he’s back with Strigoi to help fill it up.
The sounds found on the band’s debut are similar to what Vallenfyre laid down, no doubt about it: doom-ridden death metal, although here the production is a bit tidier and there is almost a black metal overtone to some of the songs, such as the excellent, blasting “Phantoms.” The majesty of the huge riffs from Mackintosh’s day job (which also carried over to Vallenfyre) are here, as well, giving this one a huge, epic DM sound. The 1:48 “Throne Of Disgrace” is a raging, d-beat death cruster; “Carved Into The Skin” is a massive monolith of a doom/death track. “Enemies Of God” sums it all up nicely, from the mid-tempo doom to the brisk death, the dark melodies and intense delivery harkening back to the heaviest of Paradise Lost, or Vallenfyre with a bit more polish. The title track closes things off with a massive doom crawl, the album’s heaviest moments arriving as it all comes collapsing to a wondrous close. What a great album; I actually wish the production was uglier and crustier, as that was part of Vallenfyre’s charm, but aside from that, this is a huge, moving, powerful beast of a record. May Mackintosh never stop.