Vale of Pnath is an American technical/melodic death metal band. While not huge, they have a small but devoted fanbase and have begun to find wider recognition, and their focus on melding technical wizardry with dark, brooding melody will likely be picked up by a larger crowd once they finally receive the attention that they've been working towards for so long.
Formed in Denver, Colorado in 2006 by David Lercher (vocals), Vance Valenzuela (guitar), Alan Parades (bass), and Jeremy Portz (drums), they quickly added Mikey Reeves as a lead guitarist not long after forming to complete the lineup. Roughly a year after forming, they recorded a debut EP with Dave Otero; released in 2008, the EP was not an explosive hit, but word got out that they were a band to watch. A month-long West Coast tour soon followed, and after returning, the band immediately began work on a full-length. Lercher and Parades wound up leaving sometime around then as well; in their place came Ken Sarafin and David York, respectively, and the band signed with Willowtip Records. Portz also left in 2009 and was replaced by Eric W. Brown, but when it came time to record the full-length, Brown was unable to make the sessions and Portz sat in once again as a session player. In August of 2011, The Prodigal Empire dropped to a very warm reception and the band was hailed as a promising new name. Various tours followed, and in this time, Sarafin and York left as well. In the former's place came Stevie Boiser, and the latter's spot was filled by a returning Parades. Their biggest tour came in 2013 by way of a full US run with Gorod, Inanimate Existence, and Kamikabe, but bad planning and terrible promotion on multiple dates forced the band to drop off near the end. They soldiered on, however, and writing eventually began for their second full-length. 2014 went uneventfully aside from writing and day jobs, but 2015 proved to be more eventful; a run with Vital Remains came around the beginning of the year, but Reeves wound up leaving at some point and serious personal issues also forced Boiser to leave later on. A brief revolving door of guitarists followed, as Harrison Patuto took Reeves' spot only to have his own set of personal issues force him to depart; thankfully, Eloy Montes stepped up. Boiser, meanwhile, was replaced by Reece Deeter after a semi-lengthy search, and the band buckled down on finally getting that second album out. Unfortunately, however, Willowtip could only pay for half of the recording costs, and the band opted to put up a Kickstarter around the end of 2015 that was ultimately successful. A second full-length is slated for sometime within the first half of 2016.
- Vale of Pnath (2008) (EP)
- The Prodigal Empire (2011)
- Vale of Pnath II (2016)
- Accursed (2019) (EP)
This band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Absentee Actor: Eric W. Brown is currently a studio-only member due to his various other commitments, primarily Nekrogoblikon.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: They are indeed named after the location from the Dreamlands in the Cthulhu Mythos.
- Ascended Extra: Brandon Vallejo was this for all of a few months before he wound up leaving; he was originally going to at least track Accursed as a session member even after he left, but that fell through and Andy Torres wound up doing it instead.
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Eric W. Brown is known for the incredible amount of bands that he drums for and also for the equally sizable amount of electronic projects that he has.
- Bald of Awesome: Alan Parades.
- Black and Nerdy: Stevie Boiser.
- Black Metal: The band has always some noticeable elements of melodic black metal, and Accursed was a full jump into blackened death metal.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Eloy Montes, and it got him thrown out and also cost him a fill-in spot for Inferi when he had several months to learn a thirty-minute set, only to be completely unable to play his parts when the band met up with him because he hadn't practiced at all. Vance had apparently warned Malcolm Pugh that he was unreliable and unprofessional, but Malcolm admitted that he did not heed the warning and gave him the offer anyways.
- Development Hell: The second full-length will have taken almost five years to make. Some of this can be blamed on the personal lives of the band and the turnover, however.
- Epic Rocking: "Unburied" (7:40) and "Cerulean Eclipse" (6:00).
- Filk Song: "Brain Butchers", "A Nightmare Phantasm", "Klendathu", "The Horror in Clay", and "Reaver".
- I Am the Band: Vance Valenzuela.
- Melodic Death Metal: One of the heavier examples.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Soft 10, though their heavier songs sometimes creep into a standard 10.
- New Sound Album: Accursed is a Genre Shift to blackened death metal, with the tech downplayed to a good degree.
- Religion Rant Song: "Sightless"
- Revolving Door Band: It's not a consistent flow of members, but the past couple of years have brought numerous lineup changes. 2015 was particularly bad, as they lost one vocalist and two guitarists in the same spot, and while it's not clear if the entire band left or if they just couldn't make the tour (save for Montes, who officially has left), they reached the logical extreme of this on their fall 2017 tour, where literally everyone in the band save for Valenzuela was a fill-in. At this point in time, the lineup is Vance, Harrison, Andy, and Reece if he can make it, plus Eric for studio commitments and Michael Blume for live commitments.
- The Sixth Ranger: Michael Blume, their live drummer. While Eric W. Brown is an important part of the band, his schedule means that he is solely a writing and recording member, and Blume is basically a full member of the band for live purposes.
- Special Guest: Portz was this on The Prodigal Empire due to Brown's incompatible schedule, and the band has had guest solos from Malcolm Pugh, Mike Low, Mathieu Pascal, Nicolas Alberny, and Ryan Glisan (ex-Allegaeon). As for live session members, Mikey Wilson (Mouth of the Serpent), Gabe Seeber, Anthony Michelli (Ritualistic), Sanjay Kumar, Brandon Vallejo (both of Perihelion), Dylan Walker, Alex Haddad, and Travis Bartosek (Abiotic) have all served as fill-ins. Greg Paulson (ex-Arkaik) was originally supposed to be the fill-in on the tour that Alex Haddad wound up doing, but he wound up having to back out.
- Technical Death Metal: Less overtly technical than some examples, but quite a bit of their material is not easy to play.
- What Could Have Been: Spiros Antoniou (Septicflesh) was originally supposed to handle all graphic design-related matters on II but was apparently so slow with actually getting the work done that they had to drop him and find someone different.