Tech Death Thursday: Vale of Pnath II – Pnath Harder


After what seems like an eternity, the new Vale of Pnath album is finally upon us. Let’s get pnasty!

First up, the news:

  • The new lyric video from Deceptionist demonstrates once again that tech death bands should never do lyrics videos. Seriously. Stop it.
  • Need something a little different from the same old tired tech death tropes? Then check out this new track from Mephistopheles. It’s kinda proggy, kinda sludgy, and completely awesome. In Reverence of Forever will be out July 8th on Willowtip.
  • Danny Tunker has reminded me that we are in desperate need of new Spawn of Possession material. Check out his playthrough of “Bodiless Sleeper” here.
  • BRAIN DRILL has announced their completion of the new album and their new vocalist: Travis Morgan, formerly of Atheist. You can check out the full details (including cover art) right here.
  • Black Crown Initiate has announced the addition of guitarist Wes Hauch (ex-The Faceless). They’ve also premiered another new song, and it’s, uh, certainly something. It seems like something that will probably grow on me eventually, but my first impression is… underwhelming.

If you’ve been reading the news portion of this segment or following Jack Bauer or myself in the Facebook group, odds are you’ve seen more than a couple posts about Vale of Pnath‘s newest, the aptly-titled II. That’s not without good reason; their debut was incredibly strong and generated a lot of hype amongst tech death fans (and was also the subject of one of the very first Tech Death Thursdays). It was five long years before they released any new music, and having lost two guitarists and a vocalist in the meantime, it seemed doubtful they would be able to deliver the same level of quality as on their first effort. Thankfully, the premier of “Klendathu” indicated the opposite; the band sounded better than ever with the new members, surpassing the debut in every respect.

“Klendathu” was not just a one-off stroke of genius, however; the whole of II is a masterpiece. The band has grown a lot since The Prodigal Empire, and it shows; this is a band that feels whole, like there was something missing before that they finally found. The music is more complex (as one would expect), but it’s not just for the sake of complexity. Each song flows much more smoothly than on Empire; whereas some songs on that album felt like a series of hooks strung together by technical filler, II feels much more deliberate. The neoclassical approach they flirted with in the past has been solidified on II as well, and it works well for them. I think it’s because of this that I had a very easy time following the music in spite of how much it moves around.

As I mentioned before, the band has a couple new members. Guitarist Eloy Montes of Flub (the best band with the dumbest name) is a natural fit to the group, incorporating his own sound into Pnath’s with ease. New vocalist Reece Deeter also fits the new, upgraded band to a tee. The previous vocalist suffered from a mild case of tuff guy syndrome, and I was pleased to hear that this element was no longer present. With these two on board, the band sounds much more complete, and honestly like they’re having more fun playing their music. I got the impression that they took themselves a bit too seriously in the past, but there’s something about the music that feels less uptight. It’s difficult to explain, but this doesn’t seem like the same band that put out the trying-way-too-hard video for “Sightless.”

Five years is a long time to go between albums, but it worked for Vale of Pnath. These guys have gone above and beyond on II, producing one of the best tech death albums I’ve heard this year. It’s fast, it’s smart, and it’s just plain awesome. That’s why I’m giving it:

4.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


II is out tomorrow and can be found on the band’s Bandcamp. Follow them on Facebook, and catch them live this summer with Arkaik and Singularity. That’s all for this week, folks. Until next time,

Stay Tech

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  • Lacertilian

    Fuck, it’s cool to hear that Chalky is still a complete maniac nearly 15 years on from Scepter of the Ancients. While that new Mephistopheles track is pretty wild, it did kinda lose a little steam in the middle section for a bit there. Pumped for that album regardless though.
    Also, peeped that Vale of Pnath yesterday and found it to be quality.
    Cheers Spear!

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Vale of Peen

  • EsusMoose

    “Flub (the best band with the dumbest name)”
    Sounds familiar in a white porcelain type of way

    • Joaquin Stick

      Rub a dub dub, three men in a Flub.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    When the hype train comes a’chuggin through town

    • let me translate what you just said:
      “this isn’t my thing. how can so many people dig it?”
      i know this, because i used to say it too.

      • Abradolf Lincler

        me? actually i was introduced to Vale of Pnath during my DM years with their s/t EP (probably still on an ext HD somewhere). i just dont find the genre compelling anymore. there is no doubting their technical prowess tho

        • Owlswald

          I hear you. Like any genre, there is definitely a sea of “meh” with a few that rise above it all with their unique twist and/or solid songwriting and production. Vale of Pnath is one of them in my opinion.

        • more beer

          I see these guys pretty regularly. They are local and play pretty often.

          • Eliza

            Are they good live?

          • more beer

            Yes and they are pretty cool guys too.

        • yeah. any time somebody brings up the “hype train” comment, he/she is basically saying what i just said, and what you just said… but adding a pinch of negative connotation to it. so we strip out the connotation.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            i definitely didnt mean any real negative connotation, more commenting on the numerous TDT mentions.

          • let’s hug it out. it’s the only viable option.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            jesus christ

          • I apologize for our regular coverage of a popular and relevant band in a subgenre that you don’t enjoy.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            I’d rather have that than constant coverage on Nergal’s bowel movements

      • Abradolf Lincler

        i still dont quite understand the hyperspeed/warp speed idea (trying to rationalize scifi), i mean . . . travelling that fast, how does the ship not hit something? i think the premise is that the ship is actually bending space around the ship but matter is a different thing

        • Dubs

          Moving at that speed, a dust particle would tear your ship apart. I think the idea is either that a) it’s bending space-time and you’re actually traveling through a wormhole across the folded line or b) the deflector shields on the ship are sufficient to prevent damage (which doesn’t make much sense).

          • god damn yes

          • Netflix just recently added it; Watched the first half last night.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            right, your A was my general impression. and B does indeed not make sense (though several Trek episodes allude to different types of shields)

          • Dubs

            Hard sci-fi is a lot less fun, sadly.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            also why im much more in the high fantasy camp. but as a science geeky person i think its fun to speculate

          • Dubs

            If you want a good hard sci-fi (ish) novel, check out The Forever War.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            will do, what was that other Orwellian type book you wrote a post about before?

          • Dubs

            The Bone Clocks?

          • Abradolf Lincler

            yisssss that one, sorry if i miscategorized it but i had meant to check for it

          • Dubs

            No problem. I’m actually waiting for that book’s sister novel The Slade House to arrive.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            i wonder if the book store has those you mentioned so i wouldnt have to order

          • Dubs

            Bone Clocks should be available in most bookstores. I had to pre-order the paperback for Slade House because I think only hardback is out so far.

        • Pentagram Sam

          I think some nerd sciency stuff in some movie gave the gist that the hyperdrive cpu calculates some super magic trajectory to avoid hitting shit.

          Can’t remember what movie but the line was something like “Hyper drive blind? Are you mad?”

          Pentium 666 million or something

  • Eliza

    To be honest, I was not very familiar with this band until this album. I am seriously impressed.

  • damn Spear, what a doozy, your write-up! i’m pretty excited for the whole thing to come out, so i can hear what you’re hearing. i hope there isn’t too much neo-classical guitar noodling going on.
    (btw, is that the same BCI song about which everyone was b1tching in the FB group? it’s not bad, sounds just like the title track of Wreckage of Stars. they aren’t losing this fan quite yet!)

    • Owlswald

      FYI, If you click his embedded Youtube video, it takes you the entire album if you don’t want to wait the extra day.

      • Eliza

        I noticed that too. Sometimes, doing all the effort for an extra click is really worth it.

      • i JUST saw that. (hey, i rarely claim to be a smart dude!)

    • Eliza

      I hear nothing wrong with the BCI song. I quite like it in fact.

      • suh-weet! it’ll be surrounded by riffier stuff on the album more than likely. no need to panic, rite!

        • Owlswald

          The best part of that song was the drumming. I’m a sucker for ghost notes and groovy fills but I did also like the soulful guitar solo.

          • noticed the drumming too. there’s always something to catch one’s ear

        • Eliza

          I don’t mind the lack of riffs this time because of the atmosphere and buildup in the track. Also, we can’t judge the album based on one song.

  • Mother Shabubu

    Their logo is really cool looking.

  • Dubs

    Spear, you remain glorious as ever.

  • Speaking of Willowtip Records. Did anyone else like the newest Brutus album? I really hate the drum sound, but I can look past it honestly. One of the most savage albums of this year. Constant blast beats!

    • Dubs

      This is one of those things I keep intending to jam but keep forgetting :/

      • That’s understandable. It is overly long, clocking in at 55 minutes.

        • Dubs

          Need to listen to that Mitochondrion/Auroch split that just went live too, and though I don’t jam much bro-tech tech death nowadays, I want to give Vale of Penith a chance because of all Spear here. The endless queue.

          • The good thing is that I don’t think the album will be disappearing from Bandcamp. So no rush… Just curious to know if anyone else heard it yet because I have not seen anyone discussing it around these parts. Perhaps Scrimm heard it. I’ll ask him next time I see him “NOPE” it up.

        • Eliza

          That’s disheartening.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      The drum sound is irritating, it’s bad, but the wrong kind of bad. I mean, I love trash-can snare but this is just loud and poor, almost obnoxious.
      Though I can get past it and the album is alright otherwise, ‘cept too long.

    • Count_Breznak

      I listend through it a couple of times a few weeks ago. The songs have potential, but nothing really stuck. Im mostly blaming the bad sound quality of the bandcamp tracks since I love the Slachtbeest album.


  • There’s also a new Hannes Grossman song and a indiegogo campaign for the second album.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      HA, At least Fountainhead found some /i> work after Kummerer fucked him up his a.

      • I dug the first album quite a bit, but I haven’t heard it in a while cause I overplayed it.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          I don’t think I ever really played it, I’m just happy for Fountsie.

          • What exactly happened there anyway? I’m not sure I understand the drama.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Most likely Founzie refused to be Kummerer’s bitch, Stefan fired him and has ever since actively tried to downplay his efforts to the point of obvious lying (like, anyone who knows Fountainhead can hear him all over the album).

          • Is this why a new Obscura album took so damn long?

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Likely that and also that half the band quit after Omnivium.

          • Omnivium was one of my first tech death records. Though, in retrospect, it’s not THAT great.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Probably like it better than Obscura.

          • Than Gorguts?! of course hell not

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            whoops, I meant Akroasis. Though…

          • Nah I like Akroasis more. Not more than Gorguts though, stop that.

          • Jeroen made one of his best works in the bass in that record <3


          • tertius_decimus

            IMO, his best work is Ensemble Salazhar. Not metal.

          • That project is pure magic, bruh.

          • tertius_decimus

            Familiar with it already? Nice. 🙂

          • Spear

            The Velocity solo >>>>>>>

  • Owlswald
  • Waynecro

    That Deceptionist album is going to kick so much ass. Danny Tunker looks pretty happy playing that song. If I could play as well as he does, I’d be smiling like one of the people from Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” video. BRAIN DRILL!!! Vale of Pnath’s new album is so fucking great. I like The Prodigal Empire, but II blows it away. Awesome work as always, Spear!

    • Deceptionist is talented no doubt, but the songs I have heard so far feel like they just meander and don’t really have any substance.

      • Waynecro

        For whatever reason, all the Deceptionist songs I’ve heard have really worked for me. I’m finding them memorable and catchy.

        • I liked the Ep a lot, overplayed it actually, but these aren’t doing much for me. Maybe they will grow. But hey, thats why we are unique individuals with varying opinions.

          • Waynecro

            Indeed. And, honestly, my method for deciding which tech death I really like is hardly scientific or analytical. I usually just latch on to whichever bands have songs stand out to me and get me pumped. Thorough musical analyses don’t come until much later.

          • Yea that’s basically how I am with all music and why I don’t really give a fuck what people think about my music choices. If I enjoy it, I’m gonna listen to it. Don’t care if the lyrics are lame or the song structure is simple. Like that new Infant Annihilator song, I really like it, even though the lyrics are beyond ridiculous and the drums are goofy.

          • Waynecro

            I definitely go by feels to begin with. I like some pretty absurd shit (McNulty saw the contents of my Zune, so he knows what I’m talking about), but I’m OK with that. I like what I like.

          • For sure, I mean, just look at this shit, it’s ridiculous and i dont care lol.

          • Waynecro

            Ridiculous can still crush balls, and this song definitely does that.

          • Plus I can dig the Travis Ryan vox

          • Waynecro

            I usually don’t care for Travis Ryan’s vocals, but they work well in this song.

    • Spear

      I’m planning on reviewing the new Deceptionist next week sometime. Haven’t really given it a full listen yet, so I’ve got my fingers crossed. I really liked their first one.

      • Waynecro

        Sweet, man! I look forward to reading your review. I like their first album as well, and I dig everything I’ve heard from the new one.

  • This song you posted is great. It have a At The Gates Slaughter of the Soul era riffing in the melodic sections that I’m truly enjoying.

    Thanks for the review, I’m interested now!

  • As far as that new BCI album goes…Well i didn’t expect them to go full Bropeth, but here we are.

  • Spear

    Okay, I’m dumb and should have pointed this out: the embedded youtube link leads to a playlist with the full album. It’s all there, you can stream the whole thing. Cheers!