By Dr. Abner Mality

Sweet sufferin' Jesus on an electric pogo stick! What have we here? Some obscure German proto-thrash relic from 1985 that has just escaped from a vault? No, not quite, but it's the next best thing...VORNTH!

Take a look at the cover on this sucker. Now if this ain't the spitting image of something that some bunch of German or Dutch kids from the early 80's whipped up to put on their cheap Kreator knock-off, I don't what is. And the thing is, the music inside lives up to what the cover promises! A lot of bands have the knack of getting the old school riffing of early thrash bands, some also know how to get the rough production of those days, but very few have the all-important ATTITUDE that makes you actually believe they are more than just trend-sniffing retro-pirates. Vornth has more of this attitude than any band I have hitherto heard. This record has a kind of youthful wildness and sloppiness that made old Kreator, Razor, Cyclone and Destruction so endearing. After weird opener "2740" gets out of the way, "Evil Blood" sends you on a one-way trip to speed metal hell circa 1984. I'll toss a few more band names at you in addition to those dropped above...Vectom, Deathrow, Iron Angel, Darkness. If you remember any of those names, well, here's your new favorite band.

It doesn't hurt that the lead singer has that crazy hoarse shriek that Razor's legendary Sheepdog used to sport. Few can master that manner of vocal insanity. But if "Evil Blood" didn't convince, then slap your bleeding ears on "Rapid Death" and "Spit Black Fire" for more crazed thrash/speed destruction with that true OLD SCHOOL feeling that is so hard to duplicate.

In much the same manner as some of those old bands like Vectom shot themselves in the foot eventually, Vornth's debut falls apart towards the end, as they start messing around with long, shapeless tunes. "Axemurder" is not bad at all, but three minutes longer than it should be. "Death's Horse" starts out with a power metal gallop, but gets pretty fuckin' sloppy when it tries for melody and the deeper vocals are horrible. "Grave of the Living" ends things on an awkward note with a slow and doomy song. The album should have ended with a crazed rager like "Rip Rip Rip".

Even this collapse is kind of endearing, because Vornth is so enthusiastic to show they've mastered all the old styles of underground metal. There's sincerity here and real passion. That's what carries this sucker past all obstacles to become something that all underground metallers should hear!