When DECAPITATED’s “Winds of Creation” was released, the average age of the band members was approximately 17. To anyone who has heard the album, that fact is unbelievable in the most literal sense of the term. Fast-forward five years, and another group of similarly aged youngsters called VORNAGAR released their debut album “The Bleeding Holocaust.”
Was it, like “Winds of Creation,” destined to become a modern classic of Death Metal? Not quite. But is VORNAGAR’s debut an impressive achievement nonetheless? Absolutely.
VORNAGAR plays a very hard-hitting style of Melodic Death Metal, emphasis on the Death Metal. The excellent opening track “Hyperion” reveals what will prove to be a common theme on the album: really, really catchy riffs over fast-as-hell drums, complimented by strong vocal patterns, creating an atmosphere where searing brutality and loads of melody both coexist. Much of “The Gunslinger,” for example, plays with unmatched heaviness. Yet the song also takes ample time to gather itself, taking a break from the breakneck pace to lay down a catchy chord progression, which soon transforms into an equally effective slow-burning Melodic section. “Hyperion” contains a chorus as memorable as any pop song, but with crippling ferocity that would be at home on any VITAL REMAINS album. Some tracks present a more straightforward Melo-Death sound (“When the Mist Hath Fallen” or “The Desolation Called Niflheim”), and although not as original or unique as one would’ve liked, they are still highly enjoyable.
The VORNAGAR formula starts to lose its luster near the end of the album, not so much because the later songs are inferior to the early ones, but because they don’t differentiate themselves much. Although the drumming on “Ballad for a Dying Race” and “Defiling the Sepulcher of Christ” is to die for (and easily draws comparisons to the late Vitek), it can’t save the songs from eventually becoming monotonous. On an album with only nine tracks, this reveals a serious flaw in VORNAGAR’s songwriting. Pick any three or four tracks out on their own, and they are great songs. Listen to the album as a whole, however, and the “The Bleeding Holocaust” is less successful. This is, however, a debut album, and still an impressive one at that. Standout Tracks: “Hyperion,” “When the Mist Hath Fallen,” “The Gunslinger.”
(Online October 16, 2011)