venerdì 4 novembre 2016

Vornth - "Black Pyres" (Iron Tyrant, 2016)

Band: Vornth
Title: Black Pyres
Genre: Black/Thrash metal
Year: 2016
Time: 39 min
Rating: 74/100

For those of you that don’t know the Swedish band Vornth, they are the classic underground extreme metal band that realize their debut album after many years their foundation. In fact, Vornth were founded in 2000 but they have shown already a little prolificity releasing their first demo only in 2006. After that, here you are a skimpy discography made of an EP (2009) and a single (2013) but the latter one was useful to introduce the long-awaited homonym debut album, strong both of the support of the Italian label Iron Tyrant and a very beautiful cover artwork totally in ‘80s style. In the same 2013, Vornth participated also in a compilation-tape released by To the Death Records, the homonym label of a Swedish fanzine that has really lived the ‘80s. And now Vornth, changed 2/4 of their line-up, have returned on 31st October 2016 with “Black Pyres”, their second album also this one released on CD by Iron Tyrant. The new and old headbangers must prepares for an assault of another times!

Comprised of 10 tracks, “Black Pyres” shows a boundless love for the older extreme metal. In fact, Vornth plays a pure black/thrash metal totally in ‘80s style, ergo the black metal element shouldn’t be understood in the modern sense of the term but in a more atmospheric way like in the ‘80s. In addition, “Black Pyres” is an album rich of different influences ranging from the speed to the heavy metal and, as you’ll see, there are also traces of doom metal, not forgetting some unleashed outburst à la “Pleasure to Kill” of Kreator, so the album offers an excellent variety. Alas, the Vornth’s music is characterized also by the screeching  and mangled screams of Erik Hartmann, by the unusual (for a black/thrash band) and fantastic performance of the bassist Emil Johansson, and by a curious tendency to play long instrumental moments, also if these ones, to speaking the truth, are not always effective. Furthermore, I advise that “Black Pyres” is more better during its first part than the second one.
After an unusually very very short intro titled “Beyond”, the album starts with the assault of the titletrack, that in the middle has a dark and very atmospheric slowdown where Erik uses also cleaner vocals in a narrative way. The following numbers are the merciless “Victims in Marsch” (only 2 minutes and a half circa), a song strong of riffs à la Whiplash (the band, not the track!) and even some epic and evocative choruses making it very particular; and the unleashed “Evil in Woven Spirit” that has a devastating climax exactly less after the short guitar solo. After that, here you are the more beautiful but also stranger song of the album: “Grave of the Living”. Its lasts even 8 minutes because it’s a doom metal masterpiece with some pure heavy metal elements (like in the guitar solo) but that, during its more dramatic moments, is very close even to the majestic and gothic “Offrande Charnelle” of the French band High Power while here Erik uses daemonic clean vocals in Ozzy Osbourne-style alternating them with growls and spectral screams even à la King Diamond.

Closed the first part of “Black Pyres” with the fireworks, the second one starts very well with “The Wolf, the Night”, where the album, after a dark intro with arpeggios, returns to thrashing hard with in the middle a groovy mid-tempo. The assault continues with “Traveller of the Dark”, very fast but dynamic at the same time with a mega-atmospheric guitar intro. And then…and then the album closes with less effective songs!
The first “guilty” song is “Stormtrooper”, that I consider divided in two parts: the first one is very violent while the second one is a melodic 3-minutes instrumental initially played in a speed metal way (with a short bass “solo” by Emil!) becoming then a NWOBHM-ish mid-tempo. Unfortunately, the instrumental part, for me, is very unconclusive also because the song hasn’t both a real climax and a guitar solo, and I think that, also with vocals, “Stomtrooper” could be a standout track! The second “guilty” song (but in a more relative way) is the conclusive “Kleptokrat”, surely the more violent and simpler track of the album with its 100 seconds of pure fury, also if I expected something better to closing “Black Pyres”. But between these aforementioned songs, there is the dark mid-tempo “Serpent Flames”, tending to doom metal and strong of hallucinated choruses à la Mercyful Fate.

After this track by track,”Black Pyres” is a good album rich of atmosphere and ideas but it’s a shame that it loses something during its final part. Fortunately, the sophomore Vornth’s album deserves a lot also only for “Grave of the Living”, a totally perfect and brave song, yet recorded as bonus track for the debut album.

1 – Beyond (intro)
2 – Black Pyres
3 – Victims in Marsch
4 – Evil in Woven Spirits
5 – Grave of the Living
6 – The Wolf, the Night
7 – Traveller of the Dark
8 – Stormtrooper
9 – Serpent Flames
10 – Kleptokrat

Erik Hartmann – vocals/guitars
Erik Kjönsberg – guitars
Emil Johansson – bass
Janne Rimmerfors – drums

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