Vale Of Pnath is one of my favorite technical death metal bands today. Vance has consistently put out some of the better offerings that personally are some of the best we have today. He’s not only an artistic inspiration to me, but also going through a lot of lineup changes he has kept his music alive. For their upcoming EP “Accursed” Vance went more for a technical black metal sound, and it’s as haunting as his music has ever sounded. I didn’t expect a shift in the sound, but openly welcomed it after my first listen months ago. I fell for this EP after that one listen, and was flabbergasted I got it the day after the single was released. I couldn’t feel any more honored and excited to present this interview to the public with Vance. I hope you all enjoy this interview, as it means a ton to me also as a guitarist/writer. Cheers!
TMR: It was an honor to listen to and promote “Accursed”. Explain the direction of a more blackened sound and easing off death metal for one release. It’s unique, and nothing like what the band has ever released. It’s still technical, and equally as groovy.
As a big fan of black metal and its subgenres, I really wanted to explore what I could do blending those elements with our style. Turns out that it worked out quite well and honestly something I want to continue in further releases.
TMR: How did the offer for the Devastation On The Nation tour come to fruition? It doesn’t cater to a metal subgenre, but this is the first lineup I remember seeing black metal styled bands.
We were lucky to have both our manager Bryce Lucien and booking agent Daniel DeFonce put faith in not only the new EP and sound but for us to fit along with these legendary bands. These guys are the ones working behind the scenes making this awesome tour come to life. We did last years Devastation tour with Aborted and Psycroptic headlining and it was killer. I’m excited to see what this one does. Shows are already selling out and a lot of the bands have new albums out. It’s going to be a great tour. Black metal doesn’t always get a stage like this here in the United States unfortunately so this tour is really going to turn some heads.
TMR: What motivated the band to keep going with all the lineup changes over the years? One thing I dig about Vale Of Pnath is the endless desire to keep going and not give up, outside of a seriously talented band. Many artists would have folded the cards by now, but VOP is still alive and kicking! I’m so thankful for the great music you have given us!
For the last 13 years I’ve been pushing to make it happen. There was a long hiatus between our releases “The Prodigal Empire” and “II”.. probably 6 years? I’ve been the core writer since the beginning and have had tremendous help along the way. Ken Sarafin was our vocalist on The Prodigal Empire and also made his writing presence known having written tracks like “Mental Crucifixion”, “Borne Extinction” and the title track “The Prodigal Empire”. Eloy Montes came in on 2nd guitar during the writing process for II and added his neo classical flare, which worked seamlessly. II was much more of a collaborative effort having both Ken and Eloy helping me write songs and also we brought our current drummer and vocalist into the mix (Eric W. Brown, Reece Deeter) to really take it all to the next level. I’ve had the will to keep it alive and am lucky enough to have had these dudes help keep it alive and fresh. Every band has hardships and it really is how people choose to handle it. It’s not always going to be peachy, so if you really want it you’ll keep the dream alive.
TMR: What is your favorite Vale Of Pnath Album or EP and why?
This is gonna be a landslide victory ging straight to Accursed. Everything I had in mind really came to life here. Every track flows so smoothly and has a lot of depth. I feel like this band really has gotten to the next level and the song writing is fantastic. Also I’m bias since the darkened aspect has finally made it’s way into full songs.
TMR: Give us your biggest moment as a band, something that you’re proud of or a moment that defined Vale Of Path.
It’s hard to say. As of recently we have done some amazing things. Writing and releasing this new EP and seeing the response.. has been such a great feeling. Add us hitting the road with Dark Funeral / Belphegor and company. That’s pretty huge in my eyes. These 2 things happening simultaneously are a very big moment for this band.
TMR: What plans do you have for after Devastation On The Nation and going into 2020?
Right now we are planning a quite large tour cycle. Some stuff not announced and some not confirmed.. we plan to share this new music with as many people in as many places as possible. After that or even during this I plan to keep writing a follow up and pushing what I’ve experimented with on Accursed even further.
TMR: Explain how everyone came to be a musician and what bands defined them as a child and bands you’re into now.
I can’t speak for everyone here, but I was gifted an B.C. Rich Warlock at the age of 13 for my mom. The rest is history I suppose. Spending most of my free time in my room learning Metallica riffs.. until I started discovering bands like Cannibal Corpse, Mayhem and Dying Fetus. I still love those bands.. today I definitely appreciate bands like Anaal Nathrak.. really blending black metal and industrial elements which is where I got a lot of influence for Accursed. There are a lot of bands out there these days pushing the boundaries. I think that’s what you have to do in today‘s world. There are so many bands out there “trying to make it” so anything new and fresh you can bring to the table really sets you apart.
TMR: Favorite show Vale Of Pnath played?
Opening for Gwar was a fun show.. We have had some killer shows on tour. Montreal always shows up and we are very grateful to have dedicated fans who show up early for the opening bands. We opened last years Devastation and played at 4:30 pm.. the doors opened and hundreds of people flooded in. Also it was our first time in Canada so that feeling was quite special.
TMR: What 3 bands would you take on tour? Dream scenarios are acceptable.
Oh man.. Dimmu Borgir would be a dream.. Dark Funeral… oh wait..
Luckily I think with this new EP and our older discography we can sneak onto a lot of tours. Prodigal has some brutal death, II is definitely a “tech” album and now we can squeeze into some black metal stuff. Plenty of bands I could list here..
1. The Black Dahlia Murder
2. Cannibal Corpse
TMR: What’s the influence and meaning behind the band name Vale Of Pnath?
Its a refrence to a place in a HP Lovecraft story. We try and still keep our lovecraftian roots even in the new songs. It’s more relevant than ever, with our new material.
TMR: Please explain the lyrical concepts and theme(s) of the upcoming EP “Accursed”.
The lyrical content for Accursed is based around the personification of negativity. The story revolves around The Witch, who is consumed by an overwhelming evil to sacrifice her own son in order to curse mankind. The evil is negativity. The Witch is society, and her victims are those of us who succumb to negativity and anxiety that is spread throughout us like a plague. Over time her curse raises the dead of those afflicted by her spell. A never ending cycle of people born into this tension and anxiety ridden world. As these shambling corpses gain numbers they fuse into a Spectre of bone, a new society that is destined to fail for there is nothing but darkness in a world that cannot see the light.
TMR: It’s your last day of existence on Earth. What is your last supper, and what do you do with the last 24 hours of your life?
Knowing me it would be something not exciting like mashed potatoes and watching horror movies haha.
TMR: What are your interests outside of music and Vale Of Pnath?
We all sorta do the common stuff. Drink beers, smoke weed, hail satan.. play video games.
TMR: What bands have you recently discovered?
Metal wise.. Blood Incantation. They are local here in Denver and are just absolutely destroying it.
Don’t forget that “Accursed” is out this Friday May 17th! It’s a ripper!