Far from just being an anagram of a market town in Lancashire famous for gingerbread, Ormskrik from Norway promise a “fusion of Bay Area thrash, Norwegian black metal and Swedish death metal”.
The whirlwind gets going, there is a piercing scream, a deathly riff and I imagine a great deal of swinging hair. To say that “Occultness” is exciting is an understanding. While all the fury and screaming and battering are going on, there’s plenty of melody. “Die” utters the vocalist to close, before we’re off on another thrashy romp. Driving, driving it is, through walls and beyond. The instrumentals are tight. After a couple of minutes of hell fury, “Destroyer off Worlds” descends into shadowy ambiance. Slowly the phoenix arises and the song returns to its pulsating high-intensity melodic thrash riffage. A short and ominous blast called “Oblation” adds a little darkness, before “March of the Dead” adds plenty of energy and a guitar solo. Fast, hard and heavy is what it is. The riff is hypnotising. “Descend to Madness” made me think of Dew Scented, who are neither Bay Area, Norwegian nor Swedish. As one guitar shudders and judders and double picks, another plays a solo. But it’s not just the guitar but the collectiveness of sound that is impressive. There are elements plain old thrash of course, but Ormskrik know how to structure a song, bring layer upon layer and change tempo without disturbing the fluidity of their songs. Oh, and there’s a little surprise here as there is on “Deathwind”, which descends momentarily into a thunderous juggernaut. It’s a shame it ended suddenly. I would have said that Ormskrik stick to the script but disturb it with a little acoustic piece called “Vegen Til”. I’m not sure why it was necessary to do this, as this isn’t in any way boring. But at least “Vegen Til” is very nice. Normal heavy service resumes with “Helheim”, possibly as eclectic an example of Ormskrik as you’ll find on here with its flow, change of tempo, solo and moody thrash. Like “Deathwind” it stops when it was interesting. I was sure I’d heard “The Morbid Arrives” but that is the nature of this album. It does deviate into sound-effect enhanced menace, but soon there is the resumption of hard-hitting thrash melody. “Hecatomb” has the customary technically tight texture and is a controlled powerhouse of a death-thrash track – I like it. The seven minute “Eye for an Eye” closes the album. As you should do with a seven minute track, there’s needs to be progression and there’s plenty of that. No power is lost meanwhile. Mid-way it breaks for a bit of pomp and drama and to my surprise ended with this, save a reprise of the acoustic “Vegen Til”, instead of blowing us away one final time as I thought they might.
From its description, this self-titled work was never going to be something new or innovative but whilst the styles may be familiar, there is sophistication in the structure. This album is more than just a technical feast. It’s heavy, fresh and lively too. My conclusion: a good album.
(8/10 Andrew Doherty)