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
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