Swedish death thrashers Vornth have been around for the better part of twenty years, but are only now releasing their second full-length album in the shape of the rather perky Black Pyres.
The album doesn’t really differ much from their 2013 debut, being an at times blazing take on the vibrant thrash/death scene that erupted in Europe in the mid eighties. Hence you’ll get a blast of Destruction here, a bit of Kreator there and vast swathes of Sodom just about everywhere else. Living Death‘s Hellpike kept creeping into my brain whilst I listened too, though that might just be a personality defect on my part…
That’s all well and good – Vornth aren’t the only bullet-belted blokes looking wistfully back to their metallic salad days, after all – it’s just that necessarily the naivety that was present in those glory days has been completely stripped bare here; the band are clearly top class musicians, which means that the endearingly high levels of blag that compromised many of the first thrash records – attitude and commitment (and pure hell for leather joie de vivre) was often all that got some of those bands over the line back in the day- is all but missing on …Pyres. Consequently, Vornth never quite escape the feeling when in full Teutonic thrash mode that this is all a bit kitsch, a bit twee. On the most basic, surface level, that is.
Taken more deeply, rather as a slab of sincerely conceived and executed eighties-informed metal, there’s actually plenty to enjoy on Black Pyres. Despite ostensibly ploughing the blackened speedfreak furrow there is a little more depth and maturity on display here – it’s good to see the sixteen years in existence hasn’t been spent purely boozing and listening to Tankard albums – with tracks such as the doomy Grave of the Living offering more than a tip of the hat to first-album era Mercyful Fate; Erik Kjönsberg and Erik Hartmann (who also sings) both clearly know their way around their respective fretboards, and tracks such as this a far more satisfying – even to an old thrasher like me – to listen to. An album full of this sort of material might be something quite special.
That said, the full pelt assault of tracks like The Wolf, the Night are pretty undeniable – especially, I’d wager, after a few sherbets – so maybe I’m over intellectualising a bit. At the end of the day, there’s nothing new under the thrash sun in 2016 and Vornth are better than most at recreating a (very specific) sound and mood, so why am I moaning?
Black Pyres is out now.