Vallenfyre's Gregor Mackintosh Talks '80s Death Metal, Becoming a Frontman
Vallenfyre is the new passion project from Gregor Mackintosh, songwriter and guitarist of Paradise Lost. Along with drummer Adrian Erlandsson (At the Gates), guitarists Hamish Glencross (My Dying Bride) and Mully, and bassist Scoot (Doom), Mackintosh and the new death metal outfit will soon be releasing 'A Fragile King,' their debut album. Even though Century Media will be issuing the record, its early-'90s inspired sound brings to mind classic releases from labels like Peaceville and Earache Records.
Mackintosh called Noisecreep from his home in the UK to discuss Vallenfyre and 'A Fragile King.' Since Paradise Lost is still a busy and ongoing enterprise, we asked him what inspired him to take on a new project the scale of Vallenfyre.
"At the end of 2009, my father passed away. The following month I started to write all of these words down. They weren't meant to be lyrics, but they eventually did. My father's battle with cancer also inspired the album title, 'A Fragile King.' Anyway, at the same time I started to reminisce about the '80s and my youth. I took out those metal records and demos I used to listen to back then. Then I started writing songs and called some of my close friends to see if they wanted to get a band together to play the material. That was in 2010.
"Since everyone is in another band, it took a while for us to finish making our album, but we finally got it done in April of this year. It's been a gradual thing and I'm glad I got persuaded to do it by some of my friends. It's been a lot of fun revisiting and reliving the music that we first fell in love with," said Mackintosh.
Vallenfyre is the first band Mackintosh has played in where he's also handling the lead vocals position. "That was an accidental thing in a way. It was definitely not planned out. I wrote the lyrics and I couldn't really see anyone else sing those words, so I just started doing them myself. We rehearsed for a few weeks and I came up with a style that I think fitted best. The rest of the band thought it sounded good, so we just went ahead with me as the singer."
Noisecreep reminded Mackintosh that his Paradise Lost bandmate, Nick Holmes, fought with a bout of polyps as a result of singing in a death metal style. But the veteran musician isn't too worried about his own vocal cords yet. "I haven't had any trouble at all. But yeah, Nick had quite a bit of issues with polyps at one point. I haven't done any extensive touring yet, so we'll see. In terms of recording the vocals on the album, I didn't have any problems. I was really comfortable doing them. But ask me again after we tour," laughed the guitarist-vocalist.
Now that you've heard 'Desecration,' Noisecreep asked Mackintosh what listeners can expect on the rest of 'A Fragile King' and what specific bands helped influence its songwriting. "It's a great mixture of the bands the members of Vallenfyre listened to from the mid-'80s to about 1991. It's primarily the old school death metal thing in there. But we also tried to incorporate a lot of the crust influences of bands like Amebix and punk stuff like Discharge. Then again, there's also a lot the doom influence from St. Vitus and Candlemass and the grindcore stuff like Napalm Death and Repulsion. There's a nice mix of all of those extreme sounds on the album."
Vallenfyre's 'A Fragile King' will hit stores on Nov. 1st via Century Media. Pre-order the album at this link.