Thormesis were founded in 2006 and their latest album ‘The Sixth’ is appropriately titled as it is indeed their sixth opus.

‘The Sixth’ opens with ‘Sonnen’ which has mesmerising guitar hangs and then it kicks into a technical and clean musical wonder. Velsir growls and spits out the lyrics with precision which sit in unison with the technical and crisp background. The music is layered and catchy, with Horus and O.D beating the backdrop into submission with power and attitude. The band isn’t precious about airtime and allows the guitars to intertwine and show off at times and the drumwork creates the backbone and the whole package is wrapped up neatly with dark beauty, similar to the works of the melodic metal titans Dark Tranquillity.

‘Thy Morbid Drunken Ways’ is a lot heavier and blasts you from the offset. Once the initial power is levelled out, they open you up to the catchy riffs and melodic heart beats. The vocals are relatively raw on this one and they sit in harmony with the rawer and faster bones of the track.

‘Chor Der Toten’ slows things up and opens with a peaceful and timid guitar doodle before the technicality and brutal trademark sound is injected with some urgency. The sound is frosty and the vocals combine with ease and clarity. Mid song they slow things up again with some atmosphere and eeriness which gives a good period to enable some reflection of what has just battered you, before the drums lead us back into the riot and violence.

‘Zeichen Zum Grund’ leaves the vocals missing for most part, and it is some time before they even rear their heads, although when they do, they are the frostiest and nastiest that has been seen so far,. They are quite distant in the mix compared to the rest of the offering and they almost seem vitriolic in their approach. The music is heavier on this one and the guitars are less technical but more bludgeoning. The drums are absolutely supersonic in their portrayal.

‘Lichtermeer’ is unique and more guitar focused. As much as the soul is still there and heavy as hell, they open up periods of the track in order for the guitars to take centre stage and showcase the talent and raw dynamism of the fretwork. The whole tune is catchier and more tuneful than other tracks on the album, and it is more melodic in its make-up. Again, the orchestral esque vocals make an appearance and the use of keys is at the forefront on this track which works beautifully to create grandeur and splendour.

‘One Last Tear For Every Burned Soul’ has behemoth drum beats and blast beats and these lead the way through the track. The guitars are a burning force on the track and, along with the venomous spiteful vocals, create more of a traditional black metal voyage. The drums seem to have been turned up a notch unless it’s O.D out to prove a point. There is still the melody and harmony a plenty but it just feels more tuney and catchy throughout the whole piece.

The album closes with ‘Darkened Skies’ and opens with an absolutely beautiful guitar piece which opens to another brutal yet melodic sophisticated track. This one is complex and layered throughout, utilising all instruments to create a wonder of beauty. Vocals are used less in this one compared to some of the others on the album, yet when they are blasted out they are sitting alongside the harmony of the track rather than leading from the front. This all helps to create a mesmerising thing of beauty.

If you like your metal complex and layered with numerous outlets and styles then this is for you. It’s a must if you like the more melodic black metal with injections of rawness and mayhem, without detracting away from the intricacy and complexity.

This definitely is a thinking person’s album from this institution of the black metal scene

(8/10 Phil Pountney)