Here Be Dragons!
Vermithrax was the name of a dragon from the cult movie ‘Dragonslayer’, which was released by Disney in the early 1980s. Vermithrax the band are somewhat different from their dragon namesake, mostly in that they are missing wings and the ability to barbecue food without using an oven.
But Vermithrax try to overcome these shortcomings by tempting us with a tasty plate of old school thrash metal. They say that they are similar in style to Megadeth and Testament, but are they really? Do they really sound like those two titans of thrash metal, without sounding like a bunch of cheap rip offs? At twenty one minutes spread over three songs, Vol. 1 certainly has the long feel of the progressive thrash genre that they label themselves as, but are they any good at it? With nervous heart and fearful eyes I sat down and listened carefully, pen in hand.
The opening track, ‘Submersus’ begins heavily, with the singer shouting ‘You’d better run!’. Being on the longer side of six and a half minutes, ‘Submersus’ is surprising fresh, with powerful drumming that collides with an audible bass guitar to form a powerful rhythm section. This is kept up through the entirety of the record, the bass is not content to be left in the background, and fights for a position amongst the rest of the instruments. It doesn’t take carefully ears to hear that very powerful throbbing ‘twang’ of the bass guitar strings, rumbling along the fretboard in an orgasm of noise. It’s very satisfying to hear such bass in thrash metal in general.
From ‘Submersus’ to ‘Architect Of Fear’ and ‘The Summoning’, Vermithrax bring you an entertaining saga of interesting variety. Vol. 1 is far too short to give a full example of what this band are capable of, but the music thus far is of good quality. The guitars enjoying soloing away in catchy riffs, chugging relentlessly along the length of the EP. The vocalist comes from the group of Bruce Dickenson style vocalists that have risen since Iron Maiden’s heyday, but he has a sound of Chuck Billy in him too, and so the vocalist is an interesting mix, which goes well with the music.
In the end, Vol. 1 is a surprisingly tasty EP and it is a very good indication of how this band will end up, when they eventually decide to release a full size album. Will they release a staple of the progressive metal genre? This first outing points to them having a chance. This isn’t a thrash metal quickie. The music takes time and is very progressive in style, without sounding repetitive or suffering from procrastination. Time will tell if everything goes well, but let us hope that no one decides to clip this dragon’s wings before he’s fully grown and ready to kidnap damsels.
Architect of Fear