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Vale of Pnath > Between the Worlds of Life and Death > 2024, Digital, Willowtip Records > Reviews
Vale of Pnath - Between the Worlds of Life and Death

yet another brilliant album from vale - 90%

dhpito, June 9th, 2024
Written based on this version: 2024, Digital, Willowtip Records

The album shoves us into the realms of life and death in an epic, theatrical way, with the behemoth (pun intended) “The Forgotten Path”, a 2 minute intro that introduces the general sound of the LP pretty well, showing the symphonic elements and the slight electronic flourishes that dot each track’s background along the release. “Silent Prayers” proceeds with the same epic feel of its intro, introducing the slamming vocals of the new vocalist, Ken Sorceron. While Ken’s vocal style is a tad different to that of Reece Deeter, who stayed with the band from 2015 to 2020, singing on both 2016’s “II” and the aforementioned “Accursed” from five years ago. Sorceron’s voice seems to be a bit “fuller”, also having a lower (not necessarily smaller) range. “Soul Offering”, the third track, is more traditionally technical, featuring some pretty mind-boggling riffs. The mood for the song is set early on with a rolling piano sweep, accompanied by a barrage of synths. Beautiful piano melodies and some electro elements re-appear in the following 3-ish minutes, adding a lot of flare to this solo-filled affair. “Shadow” and “Uncertain Tomorrow” close off the A side, with the latter being a great balance between the black and death metal sounds the band so expertly joins.

Both “Beneath Ashen Skies” and “No Return, No Regrets” stay within the already established confines of the record, but both are incredibly well-executed and work amazingly as pure album tracks. It is worth mentioning that surprisingly, the songs in “Between the Worlds of Life and Death” work way better in conjunction, as a full album than they do standalone. Something about the tracks’ order and the general pacing make this release a true album, much more than a glorified playlist; a hole in which many modern records unfortunately fall into. “Echoes of the Past” acts as a brief interlude before “Burning Light”, the divisive lead single. Although some fans did disagree with the group’s choice of lead single, this last track sum up the album well, being grandiose, technical and a great example of very well-performed blackened tech-death.

It is important to mention that the production (which was already good before) has only improved, in relation to previous efforts from the Colorado band. The guitar tones sound as big and brutal as ever, while still being able to highlight the technique of guitarist and founding member Vance Valenzuela, the drums are perfectly heavy and dark, while not losing the cymbals and snare’s shine, all of that wrapped up by the ripping vocals on Ken Sorceron. The more symphonic orchestrations and synthesizers act more as background elements, adding some flair to the final product, but not being an essential part of the sound. The album would surely be worse off without them, but they are by no means pivotal elements of the songs.

All in all, with “Between the Worlds of Life and Death”, we see (and most importantly, hear) Vale of Pnath affirm the move into a more blackened tech-death sound they teased with the “Accursed” EP a while back. Although it is an exciting new horizon for the veteran four-piece, there were still many uncertainties in regards to the quality of the album and the band in general, after the lineup changes and this genre shift, but it’s safe to say this new album has ironed all of those out. In 40 minutes of length, “Between the Worlds of Life and Death” is able to present 9 huge tracks, all of them being increasingly complex and sinisterly beautiful in a way only tech-death is. It is great.

Extracted from my review on MetalRules