Published on November 27th, 2018 | by Justin G.
Vermithrax: Imperium Draconus (Divebomb)
Pittsburgh-based power/thrashers Vermithrax help end the year on a heavy note with Imperium Draconus, their debut full-length album. The band includes former members of Reading Zero and Order of Nine, so their brand of thrash metal isn’t just wall-to-wall riffs (though it has plenty of that too).
Power/thrash is one of those nebulous terms that cover bands ranging from Vicious Rumors and Helstar to Iced Earth and Nevermore, but it definitely applies here. Vermithrax brings all of the relentless rhythms and riffing you’d expect from a thrash album, but tempers it with heaviness, a classic heavy metal sense of melody and fantasy-themed lyrics worthy of a power metal album. Between the heaviness and Chris Roy’s thundering vocal presence, Vermithrax gives a definite nod to the classic Sanctuary and Nevermore sounds, which is never a bad thing.
You know what rules? Songs about dragons. Dio knew this. Legions of power metal bands know this. And Vermithrax knows this, taking their name from a dragon and delivering an absolutely crushing saga of dragon warfare in “Crucified By Hate.” The Testament-like thrasher “River Cruor” is another highlight, as are the technical guitar work and powerful vocals on the very Nevermore-sounding “Calling My Name.” The album closes with a very well-executed medley of Flotsam and Jetsam’s “Hammerhead” and “Hard on You,” which is an especially nice touch.
Vermithrax makes a hell of a first impression with Imperium Draconus. This is way more interesting (and more memorable) than the average thrash metal album, and is exactly the kind of album you want to hear if you’re a fan of bands like Sanctuary, Nevermore, Iced Earth, Vicious Rumors and Helstar that bridge the gap between power and speed.
Summary: Impressive power/thrash debut