"II" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Denver, Colorado based death metal act Vale of Pnath. The album was released through Willowtip Records in June 2016. Vale of Pnath was formed in 2005 and released a self-titled EP in 2008 and their debut full-length studio album "The Prodigal Empire" in 2011. There have been quite a few lineup changes since the release of "The Prodigal Empire (2011)" as bassist David York has been replaced by Alan Parades, guitarist Mikey Reeves has been replaced by Eloy Montes, and lead vocalist Ken Sarafin has been replaced by Reece Deeter. The only remaining members from the lineup who recorded the predecessor are guitarist Vance Valezuela and drummer Eric W. Brown.
Stylistically the music on "II" is a continution of the technical/progressive death metal style of "The Prodigal Empire (2011)", which means lightning fast riffing/leads featuring neo-classical leanings, insanely technical drumming, and some relatively convincing growling/occasionally higher pitched snarling vocals. References to artists like Obscura, Beyond Creation, and Augury are valid. Quality wise we´re also in that league, and "II" features more than one jaw-dropping moment of technical wizardry and powerful playing.
The album features a clear, powerful, and detailed sound production too, and paired with some relatively memorable songwriting, and high level musicianship on all posts, "II" is another great technical/progressive death metal release by Vale of Pnath. "The Prodigal Empire (2011)" didn´t stand out as one of the most unique sounding releases in the genre, and while "II" isn´t the most original sounding release either, I think Vale of Pnath have taken small steps in developing a more personal sound on this one. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.