VALLENFYRE NAMBUCCA, LONDON
In once sense at least, the strains of funeral doom echoing through the venue are appropriate. This is Vallenfyre’s farewell show, the band set up in part to process the death of Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh’s father hanging up their well-worn boots after eight years and three albums’ worth of pressure-cooked doom and d-beat laden battery. Metal ‘supergroups’ have a tendency to indulge the most atavistic strands of their DNA, and if Vallenfyre are no exception, tonight is final testament to their ability to saturate death metal with the kind of cavernous atmosphere only those genuinely rooted in the subgenre’s raw, yet otherworldly essence could hope to access. But tonight is a densely packed celebration, too; every track – from the smouldering, soul-ploughing Cathedrals Of Dread to the tetanus-inflicting pneumatic chug of Kill Your Masters – is cheered like eve-of-battle rallying cries, with Gregor’s reciting of “Valenfacts” between songs offering dry moments of levity. A closing, Sisyphean torment of Splinters breaks out into wildfire leads and dissipates into sounds of celestial ascension, but Vallenfyre’s imprint on the underground metal scene will reverberate long after.