Hamish Glencross (My Dying Bride) - Rhythm and Lead Guitars
Mully - Rhythm Guitars
Scoot (Doom, Extinction of Mankind) - Bass
Adrian Erlandsson (At The Gates, Paradise Lost) – Drums
I was first introduced to more extreme music by my older brother in 1981. Over the next few years in my early teens I grew to love various early hardcore punk bands like Discharge, English Dogs, Conflict etc. Around a similar time I was becoming aware of other more metal music like Motörhead and Black Sabbath.
In '84/85' I got into bands who were... fusing these styles like Hellhammer, Antisect and Amebix. A couple of years later I started tape trading with people all around the world which enabled me to hear lots of really cool, interesting, extreme music. Autopsy, Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Repulsion, Nihilist are some of the more well known names I started to get into but there were many many more which never gained the same notoriety. At the same time I formed Paradise Lost with my friend. Our early stuff was a bit of a mixture of all this stuff but we also had a lot of doom influence from the likes of Candlemass, Trouble and St Vitus. In '88 we started gigging and played mainly with bands from the crust scene and proto death metal/grind scene like Extreme Noise Terror, Hellbastard, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Christ on Parade, Carcass, Electro Hippies etc. We got offers to sign a deal with Earache and Peaceville Records but opted for the latter probably because they were geographically the nearest and we already knew and respected Hammy who owned Peaceville and we liked his former band Civilised Society. This was a very fun time. We were getting to play all over Europe with bands we loved. We even did a European joint headline tour with Autopsy, who had never been to Europe before, which was great - but the living conditions were horrendous. There was us, Autopsy, Hammy, Tez (Instigators) and Baz our ever faithful driver all crammed into one small transit van with all our gear and a rat infested sofa from our rehearsal room, but we loved every minute.
At that time, these forms of music were our life. We loved it and lived it, and I'm proud to have been involved in the evolution of it.
The events that led to the conception and formation of VALLENFYRE are not particularly happy or pretty ones. In the late summer of 2009, my father John Mackintosh was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We were not too worried at first as this is a common and quite curable form of cancer. Later in the Autumn as his treatment progressed, Paradise Lost embarked on the their European tour to support the latest album [Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us]. We began in the UK with our good friends Katatonia and Engel. A week into this, I received a call from my mother telling me that the doctors had found cancer in his lungs and it was terminal. He only had weeks to live. I made the decision to leave the tour before it went to mainland Europe leaving my very able guitar tech Milly to take my place. I went and stayed with my parents for the next few weeks. After a very sad and painful time he passed away on the 2nd December early in the morning.
Over the next few weeks I experienced all the famous stages of grief. It started to become very self destructive so I decided to channel it into creating something. To pay respects to the man that drove us to our very first gigs because none of us could drive. The only Dad I knew that listened to Bolt Thrower’s Peel Sessions on the radio. The guy who gave me my first chord book. I decided that I was going to go right back to the beginning. To my roots in Death, Crust and Doom. It all started very Angst ridden. This wasn't originally meant for anyone else to hear. It was a release. After recording some material I realized that I was actually enjoying doing this but I wanted friends involved so it could actually become real fun.
Deciding which friends to get involved in this was not that difficult.
Adrian is already the drummer in Paradise Lost, and not only is he a great drummer and a good friend, he also has a great pedigree and taste in music.
He grew up in similar musical circumstances to me in Gothenburg, Sweden. He started at a young age in At The Gates and he was also in Skitsystem (who I think are a fantastic band). The Gothenburg scene was a thriving scene for extreme music. I wrote to lots of people from Gothenburg in the tape trading days (including Fredrik Wallenberg who went on to start Skitsystem with Adrian). It was a small world indeed. Adrian thought it sounded like a lot of fun and agreed.
Hamish is a friend of many years. An all round lovely chap who grew up in my home town of Halifax. Every time I go back to my home town I give Hamish a call to see if he wants some ales in The Sportsman (one of the first pubs I ever went in and still the same good old rock establishment today as it was then), to which he always says yes. Again he has a good pedigree being the guitarist in My Dying Bride and a very good knowledge of quality doom metal. I approached the subject of him playing with me on this project during one of our hardcore drinking sessions in The Sportsman and in his usual enthusiastic manner, he said he thought it was a bloody good idea. Scoot is the person I've known the longest I think. Probably about 20 years ago I needed someone to rent a room in my house and I was already an acquaintance of Scoot’s as we were both previously part of the Halifax punks, so I asked if he wanted to move in, which he did. He was playing in the band Doom (which he still does as well as a few others...Extinction of Mankind, Alehammer) and was, and still is fanatical about underground crust, punk, metal etc. I remember whilst living together I had to go and do a 7 week tour supporting Sepultura in Europe . During that tour Max Cavalera never spoke one word to me. Upon my return home I received a phone call and amazingly it was Max, but he didn't want me. He wanted to talk to Scoot because he wanted him to play in his new band Nailbomb. Typical. Scoot was interested in doing this VALLENFYRE project with me but wanted to hear it so I had to knock together some demos. He is very specific in what he does and doesn’t like so I was pleased when he said he loved the stuff. I was originally going to be purely a guitarist for this project but because I didn't have any friends whose vocals I thought fit the stuff, and because the lyrics were so personal I decided to handle them myself and get another guitarist, so finally I asked Mully who is my friend from where I live now. Every Thursday I go to his house and we have a few beers and listen to lots of old school stuff as well as checking out newer underground stuff we've heard about. Having only played in local bands previously, I assured him he would be among friends playing the kind of music they love. He agreed.
The enthusiasm for the music from rest of the guys in the band convinced me to send a demo to another friend called Jens Prueter who is head of A&R at Century Media Europe. I didn't hear anything for a couple of weeks and then I got an email from Jens apologizing for the late reply as he was on holiday, and that he was blown away by the demo and would love to do something with it. This resulted in us recording a limited edition 7" [on Imperium Productions] and an album between December 2010 and April 2011. Because we knew exactly how we wanted it to sound, we just needed someone we trusted to record it and mix it. I asked another friend (and live sound engineer for Paradise Lost) James Dunkley to record it for me and then it was mixed by Russ Russell at Parlour Studios [Napalm Death, The Exploited, Dimmu Borgir, etc]. We are all really pleased with the result and look forward to its release.
Oh and the name Vallenfyre came to me whilst reading a book on the old English language. Vallen means "strong" and fyre means … “fire”. I just liked the sound of them together. The album is called "A Fragile King" which is a reference to my fathers' battle with cancer. The lyrics are predominantly about the same thing but also include gripes with society, religion, politics and relationships as well.
It's all pretty grim.See More