Review: “Self Titled” by Ormskirk

Five years in the making, Blackened Thrash Metal act Ormskrik from Sandnes on the west coast of Norway have been busy in their self-built rehearsal space in an abandoned yarn factory since 2015. It took two years for their 2017 debut single “Eternal Moonlight” to appear and in search of the best way to release their debut album they have teamed up with Norwegian underground label Fysisk Format. That enabled them to get legendary Metal producer Daniel Bergstrand (Dark Funeral, Meshuggah, In Flames) on board with their project along with Lawrence Mackrory (Decapitated, Nightrage, Mordbrand) to handle mixing at Obey Mastering. How difficult can it be fusing bay area thrash, Norwegian Black Metal and Swedish Death Metal over 11 hyper-eviscerating and ferocious tracks?

A classic sinister opening riff builds out of the feedback at the start of “Occultness” before Ormskirk go flat out into Slayer esq Speed Metal with all the skill an dexterity of a far more experienced band and from the moment that vicious pick slide starts, you know what time it is. Headbanging time. A mid track blast beat Black Metal break is a powerhouse moment and while they’re not doing anything new on this one, what they are doing is so polished it’s brilliant. The combination of a Thrash riff bleeding into some Black Metal riffs and then back again on “Destroyer Of Worlds” is masterful, both elements in perfect harmony and the flow between them executed to precision. A mid track acoustic moment is the last thing you’d expect listening to that killer opening riff, but they knock down to build back up in fantastic fashion with some “Arise” era Sepultura influences in the mix. Taking a slower, more menacing approach with “Oblation“, a single verse pummeling piece that makes way for the Thrash attack of “March of the Dead” aids the flow of the record with the tempo change giving a momentary breather before onslaught begins again. This one has a ripper of a longer solo that is a real air guitar moment and is delivered at breakneck pace, while the closing breakdown riffs that lead into that final verse give any Thrash act a run for their money. Getting a lyric video before the album release “Descend to Madness” is a showcase track that captures all of Ormskrik’s sound in one single track, part Progressive, part Black Metal, part Death Metal, part Thrash and all Long Island Ice Tea. It’s the performance of a prize fighter, grand and epic with a fine flow through each part, the screamed black lunged vocals holding everything together neatly like a bow on a Christmas present. Developing their ideas further on “Deathwind” which has some well worked intertwining riffs and body slamming groove, it’s as heavy and hard hitting as they come.

Metallica esq acoustic interlude “Vegen Til” is a piece of majestic triumph that gives you a moment to breathe before the equally brilliant “Helheim” comes in kicking and screaming in full on Melodic Death Metal style. The leads are impressive and there is even time for a bass solo backed only by the galloping kit work as Ormskirk pay homage to their 80’s Metal influences in slick style. That continues into “The Morbid Arrives“, which is a tribute to Slayer if ever there was one. The point of difference in this one is vocal layering which sees a guttural low bark pitched against a higher resonating Death Metal scream in perfect balance giving the twin headed hydra demonic quality. A rampage from start to finish, it’s one of the stand out moments in an album of high grade Semtex. Thrash-ter-piece “Hecatomb” continues the traditional Thrash lyrical themes with a little Black Metal deviation before the epic near 8 minute closing that is “Eye for an Eye“. A raging, spitting and bloody monster of a cut with bone crushing intensity, neck snapping riffs and skull crushing blast beats – and that is just the first of three waves of attack. The false ending into an melancholic almost blues riff segment is majestic after that early evil and when that instrumental moves into it’s final acoustic part, it is a trilogy that defines the ban and asĀ glorious ending to an album as you could hear [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Occultness
2. Destroyer Of Worlds
3. Oblation
4. March of the Dead
5. Descend to Madness
6. Deathwind
7. Vegen Til
8. Helheim
9. The Morbid Arrives
10. Hecatomb
11. Eye for an Eye

Self Titled” by Ormskirk is out now via Fysisk Format and available over at bandcamp

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