At The Gates – Converge- Pallbearer – Vallenfyre: Live at Royale, Boston

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Out of all of the annual big name tours that hit North America, none have been as consistent as The Decibel Magazine Tour. On April 10th at the Royale in Boston, Decibel provided a diverse, yet exciting lineup of newcomers, Vallenfyre, one of rising stars in doom, Pallbearer, metalcore titans Converge, and the legends in the flesh, At The Gates.

Vallenfyre, by Hillarie Jason Photography.

 

Kicking off the night was Vallenfyre who, even with an early set time starting at 5:30 in the early-evening, was greeted by a generous and excited crowd. With the Royale having a strict cut off time at 9:30 on a Friday night (I know, I know) the supergroup out of the UK only had time for a few quick songs. Having said that, they got in three songs from each of their albums with favorites such as: ‘Bereft’, ‘Cathedrals of Dread’, ‘The Grim Irony’, and ‘Splinters’. I will certainly be looking forward to seeing these guys again and so should you!

Pallbearer, by Hillarie Jason Photography.

 

Pallbearer hit the stage next to destroy the crowd’s ears and emotions with a wall of sound via doom metal. Obviously in the doom world, songs tend to run a bit longer than your typical song to truly hold atmosphere and provide a mood. Due to this, we only got three songs from the foursome from Little Rock, Arkansas. Boston got to hear ‘Worlds Apart’ and ‘The Ghost I Use to Be’ from the latest release as well as ‘Foreigner’ from Pallbearer’s debut album. Get on the bandwagon for this band as space is limited!

Converge, by Hillarie Jason Photography.

 

Next up to try and tear down the venue were local heroes, Converge. I will be honest and mention I have never truly been a big fan of these guys, but after seeing them live I think I like the taste of their brand of kool-aid. The adrenaline from the four men on stage had trickled down to the floor as fans started surfing right up and over the barricade to sing their favorite lyrics. The set list was very well constructed to allow for four tracks each from the two latest releases (All We Love We Leave Behind, Axe to Fall) and two tracks each from You Fail Me as well as the classic, Jane Doe. A few favorites heard were: ‘Dark Horse’, ‘Trespasses’, ‘Reap What You Sow’, and the closer, ‘Jane Doe’. I may not have known a single word to any of the songs played, but the sheer energy of this live set by Converge is enough to get me to come back for more.

At The Gates, by Hillarie Jason Photography.

 

Lastly, the gods themselves, At The Gates, took to the stage. Even given the time constraints, the Swedish legends were able to punch out a set list of 19 tracks! Obviously with a new album out (At War With Reality from Century Media) I expected quite a bit of new tracks. In total, the Boston fans got seven from the new album, 7 from Slaughter of the Soul and a few others sprinkled in. Some favorites/sing-a-longs played were: ‘Death and the Labyrinth’, ‘Terminal Spirit Disease’, ‘Raped by the Light of Christ’, ‘Suicide Nation’, and of course, ‘Blinded by Fear’. Even after being apart for all of those years, At The Gates can still bring it and boy do they bring it all. Easily one of the better shows that will hit the Boston market in 2015!

At The Gates, by Hillarie Jason Photography.

 

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WORDS BY TIM LEDIN

PHOTOS BY HILLARIE JASON PHOTOGRAPHY

The Official Ghost Cult Writers Albums of the Year Top 50: 30-21

The countdown to the Official Ghost Cult Magazine Album of the Year for 2014 continues. Please consume and enjoy the results of our 2014 Writers’ Poll. We hope it will introduce you to some of the incredible works of art you may have missed that we have had the immense pleasure of listening to and writing about this year.

In our third installment we bring you albums 30 through to 21

Casualties_of_Cool-400x40030. CASUALTIES OF COOL – Casualties Of Cool (Pledge/HevyDevy)

“Casualties of Cool is an intriguing experiment from a man who excels in making left-field music. Go in expecting massive a prog-metal exercise will only lead to disappointment, but having an open mind will result in a rewarding experience” DAN SWINHOE 8/10 Full review here

 

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29. ANATHEMA – Distant Satellites (KScope)

“One of our world’s most understated bands, despite the plaudits they get, Anathema have once again showcased their knack for penning both forward thinking and emotionally driven music which oozes real human character and sentimentality”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

Down-IV-part-2-album-cover-400x40028. DOWN – IV (Part II) (Down Records)

“When we look back on this part of their career, we will likely understand that these are less like regular EPs that other bands release, and much more like a mini-opus, in pieces. Down clearly realizes their collective vision, no matter who is in the lineup, every time”. KEITH ‘KEEFY’ CHACHKES 9.5/10 Full review here

 

Vallenfyre-Splinters-400x40027. VALLENFYRE – Splinters (Century Media)

“Sadistic and aggressive with endless moments of bleak reflection Splinters is a leviathan unleashed upon unsuspecting listeners and a release surely destined to grace many year end lists” ROSS BAKER 9/10 Full review here

 

agalloch-album-cover-400x40026. AGALLOCH – “The Serpent and the Sphere” (Profound Lore)

Like a massive-antlered stag glimpsed amidst a wintry landscape, breathtaking, elusive and hard to pin down, The Serpent and the Sphere looks set to continue their elegant and ever-evolving legacy JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

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25. THOU – Heathen (Gilead Media)

“A storm manifest as a piece of music, as devastating as it is awe-inspiring, Heathen is varied and compelling for the entire runtime”. TOM SAUNDERS 9/10 Full review here

Cover_1500X1500_RGB-16bit-400x40024. septicflesh – Titan (Season of Mist)

“Sharp, buzzing riffs and symphonic keys, strength and brutality amongst moments of pomp and beauty, bloody entertaining and another show of form” PAUL QUINN 8.5/10 Full review here

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23. PYRRHON – The Mother of Virtues (Relapse)

The Mother Of Virtues doesn’t just challenge what is “extreme”, but calls into question whether some of what is produced is actually even music. Completely and utterly impenetrable, and exceptional with it”. STEVE TOVEY 9.5/10 Full review here

Eyehategod-album-cover-400x40022. EYEHATEGOD – EyeHateGod (Housecore/Century Media)

“Eyehategod continue to age like a good whiskey, seeming to improve as time goes by, but by no means losing their sting”. CHRIS TIPPELL 9/10 Full review here

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21. ALCEST – Shelter (Prophecy)

“Shedding the last vestiges of metal, let-alone any lingering black metal leanings, a captivating and stunning piece of music poured straight from the heart”. JAMES CONWAY 9/10 Full review here

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 50-41

Ghost Cult Magazine Albums of the Year: 40-31

Vallenfyre – Splinters

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Born out of frustration and tragedy, Vallenfyre’sA Fragile King debut saw Gregor Macintosh stepping up to the mic to vent his anger and sorrow he experienced following his father’s death from cancer two years prior. The result was an album of full on brutal death metal with touches of crust and the air of desperation which made day job Paradise Lost’s early work so vital. Following several triumphant appearances it would appear that perhaps the members commitments to their other acts would mean shelving this gnarled beast but clearly Vallenfyre has taken on a life all its own!

Simply put Splinters (Century Media) is a banger. The grime and raw aggression of the debut is all present and correct but greater inspection of their influences reveals the band are as adept at deathly doom as they are at vicious crusty proto-metal. Complete with a production job from Converge axeman and über-producer Kurt Ballou whose subtle contributions help capture a suitably sombre mood allowing the Yorkshire mob to exercise their considerable muscle.

Quite why Macintosh has chosen to conceal his corrosive roar until their 2011 debut is unclear but his savage vocal emissions are matched perfectly by the dense riffs and soaring melodic sections championed by My Dying Bride guitarist Hamish Glencross who brings with him, his considerable talent for twisted minor harmonies.

Pulverising slabs of bitterness such as ‘Thirst For Extinction’ and lead number ‘Scabs’ are equally matched in the misery stakes by ‘Bereft’ and ‘Aghast’ which should appeal greatly to fans of their creators other projects. The two-minute assault of ‘Instinct Slaughter’ is pure hatred distilled into music giving fans of acts like Doom and Extreme Noise Terror a soundtrack to crack skulls to. The deliciously filthy guitar tones and aberrant nastiness never lets up throughout the eleven tracks which hold ‘Splinters’ together. Forget over indulgent tech-death posturing, this is music played from the gut, pure and desensitized filthy and with utter contempt for anything other than being genuine and authentic.

Sadistic and aggressive with endless moments of bleak reflection Splinters is a leviathan unleashed upon unsuspecting listeners and a release surely destined to grace many year end lists.

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9/10

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Ross Baker