One look at the glorious cover for this debut and you’d probably hazard a guess that this is going to be full on metal of the thrash, Merciful Fate, Satanic headbanging style and thankfully you wouldn’t be wrong. From the self titled opening, this is a rich and highly theatrical but still steel hard attack. There is also immediately a real Slayer, Hell Awaits period sound to the thrash attack before it drops down into a seriously groovy and very melodic ending. It’s pretty damned cool if I’m honest, with a good modern production but a really old school feel to the song. Add in some good snarling vocals and it’s a winner.

‘Ravaged In The Crimson Mists’ sticks with the groove and a thumping good riff. Think slower Wolf without the air raid siren vocals. ‘Infernal Realms Unfold’ takes this back into closer classic thrash territory with a little Pleasure To Kill Kreator somewhere in the mix of Merciful Fate and Wolf. ‘Dark Desires Unleash The Legions’ is a smouldering ominous song, showing Vaultwraith really can mix up the tempos nicely. They often round out the sound with simple but effective keyboards, just some dark colour and background to swirl the fog around.

There is something very appealing about this band, whether they’re galloping into the flames on ‘ Night Ride Through The Black Woods’ or totally thrashing out on the album highlight ‘Devilcraft’ which is a guaranteed neck breaker live I’d guess. And how can you not like a sung entitled ‘Damsel In Disgust’ an instrumental straight out of the Iron Maiden songbook.

Ok, you really can spot the influences here, maybe even pick out the odd riff now and then, but as a debut there is more than enough going on here to show a polished band with their own personality strongly pushing through.

Theatrical, energetic and catchy, Vaultwraith are a band I look forward to seeing progress. Well worth spraining your neck to.

(7/10 Gizmo)