The Prodigal Empire
Label: WILLOWTIP INC. (WTP)
These Denver melodic death metal ninjas have been turning heads since their self-titled EP surfaced in 2008. Their schizoid combination of highly technical death metal with gurgling vocals that at times veer into serious melodies makes Vale of Pnath's debut full-length distinctive, to say the least. Not quite as slide-ruler-demanding as Gorguts, or as far out as Nile -- but certainly cut from a similarly nerdy cloth -- the band really comes together on "Mental Crucifixion," an orgy of metalcore ribboning, insistently catchy cookie-monsterisms and brutal shifts in tempo.