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Vermithrax - Imperium Draconus

Imperium Draconus
by Kevin Burke at 06 January 2019, 1:42 PM

From the steel city of Pittsburgh comes the metal torch-holding band VERMITHRAX  with their incendiary debut album “Imperium Draconus”.  This is old-school trash flung headfirst into the twenty-first century with the guidance of colossal melodies and well constructed tracks, belt-up as this is an album of break neck magnificence.

Formed back in 2011 VERMITHRAX have already hammered on the door of acceptance with their well-received debut ep  “Vol.1”, now the four-piece unleash their highly anticipated long player and thankfully they have forged it with both passion and a dedication to the sounds of a much missed heyday for music.  This is an eight-track display of powerfully played songs with catchy hooks that never crosses into the zone of commercialism but magically they keep it true to their sound.

To get a proper feel for the album mentioning the closer is a good place to start, as here is presented a stunning cover medley of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM’s “Hammerhead” and “Hard on You”.  This is by no means a tribute album but instead a collision of different styles, different influences which the band seam together to generate a very unique approach to songwriting.

The album begins with a flurry of acoustic notes in “The Secret Keys To…”, before the sound proper begins with the hell-for-leather assault of “Enoch”.  There is a strong Ronnie James influence in the pipes of Chris Roy, though an influence and not a outright vocalized clone, the band rattles the doors off the hinges with their blending of NWOBHM and all-out trash.

A distorted guitar crank from Scott Haggerty  opens the terrifying “Crucified By Hate”, a track which thunders along with a menacing appeal.  The backbone of VERMITHRAX like all decent metal bands of every era is the drums and bass, the power beats provided by Tom Donaldson and JR Jameson have the right sized balls needed here. “River Cruor” is one of the many highlights, a heavy dose of death-metal, still with a melody which does at no point takes away from the tracks impact, same as “Spellbound”, switching tempos and gears effortlessly to create drama with a glorious tension which keeps the listener gripped.

VERMITHRAX have constructed a release that manages to capture their sound perfectly, they are an extension of the natural progression of Metal and where it is heading as a genre.  With a short seven-tracks they manage to pile enough heart into  “Imperium Draconus” to make it memorable, not an album just listened to and forgotten as is the unfortunate normality nowadays, instead they verge on instant classic territory   and should sit nicely on a shelf beside offerings by TESTAMENT and JUDAS PRIEST.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Secret Keys To…
2. Enoch
3. Crucified By Hate
4. Road To Athkatla
5. River Cruor
6. Spellbound
7. Calling My Name
8. Hammerhead/Hard On You
Chris “Croy” Roy – Vocals
Scott “Hagz” Haggerty – Guitars
Tom Donaldson – Bass
JR Jameson – Drums
Record Label: Divebomb Records


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Edited 19 September 2019

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