Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vomitory - Hour of Truth (1991)

Not to be confused with the later, greater Swedish death metal act of the same name, Vomitory was a relative latecomer into the field of German thrash terrain, left to their own devices against a decade in which their genre would die the death of a thousand cuts: cuts from record labels, cuts in quality, cuts in interest from a once rabid fan following that no longer had the coin to spare for such efforts. They had released an EP the year before, Catastrophical Expectations, which was quite limited and I've never had my paws on, but Hour of Truth was the band's debut of meaty, well meaning thrash that just doesn't have enough going for it to stand out against the diminishing backdrop of the scene.

The material sounds rather good, with a thick guitar tone, slicing leads and a very brute fronting force in Detlef Sayk, whose vocals could easily blow the doors off barns as if he were some storm of countryside artillery. The band also fucks shit up rather well, greasing the already oil palms of both the mosh patron and the faster inclined fanatic. The riffs and songs are all fairly well laid, like the course of an ocean voyage that knows where it's headed. But sadly, the crew does not stop along the way to barter or trade with the listener's conscience, and though tracks like "Weekend Madmen" or the morose power ballad "Pull the Plug" hint at a greater capacity, the band finds nothing but firm footing, and too many of these excursions, like the bouncy "Hour of Truth" or the writhing panic of "Catastrophical Expectations", reap nothing of interest.

If you've a favor for brutally minded thrash metal like (early) Sacred Reich, Rigor Mortis or even the East Coast's well regarded thuggernauts Demolition Hammer, then this Vomitory might be an option. They make tasteful choices, combining adequate musicianship and bouts with melody and clean guitars to their blunt ministrations, but there is simply not a single song on this entire album which begs anything even bordering on a repeat listen, and it's not at all a revelation that this was lost in the shuffle. Vomitory was 'current' for their time, and you could clearly hear a more death-metal oriented approach than other German bands that were bleeding in speed and power metal, if not as directly as their countrymen Protector, but it just doesn't push their material beyond the precipice of mediocrity here.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]


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