I can’t tell you the last time I bought a thrash metal album. Thrash metal was something that grew within me when I was a youngster culminating in an unforgettable Clash of the Titans gig with Slayer, Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies and Testament in 1990. Since then, I had moved onto death and extreme metal in general and barely looked back at thrash and left it languishing behind as a distant memory.
Occasionally bands like Evile (where are they now?) would ignite that spark within me only to dwindle and burn out again. Then out of nowhere, I received correspondence about a Brazilian based thrash band called Vorgok from a mutual friend, Mike Alexander of Imperium, saying that I should check these guys out. So with Mike’s recommendation, I did and in a nutshell, I am glad that he told me about them as what I heard was music reminiscent of the reasons why I loved thrash in the first place.
Vorgok are a band from Rio, who formed in 2014 and the quartet have not long released their debut album Assorted Evils independently. “Deception in Disguise” kicks things off at a blistering pace with mid-pace drums and insane speed guitars courtesy of Edu Lopez and got this head moshing in appreciation of how thrash used to be. Vocals kick in and I immediately thought that they had enlisted Tom Araya as guest vocalist.
What Vorgok have done is to take thrash back to its roots and play thrash the way it was meant to be, at its most aggressive with Edu spitting forth lyrics about the state of this world today. What Vorgok also do very well is mix this sound of yesteryear to that of today and include many death metal elements in their music, especially in their riffs and vocals at some parts of the chorus in this song. This is a fine way to start off an album and I was looking forward to what was coming next.
What I didn’t expect was almost blast beats in the opening of “Hunger” and death metal riffs, similar to Vader at their thrashiest. This song is relentless in its pace with solos flying left, right and centre in the vein of Vader and Exodus. However, I feel “Hunger” is Vorgok’s “War Ensemble” and personal highlight of the album, especially when they add death metal vocals again in the chorus. The musicianship on show here is frightening for a band in its infancy and on debut album; they show maturity beyond their years. What was also immediately striking was the sound courtesy of Celo Oliveria, which allowed space and room to breathe for all instruments to be heard clearly. This compliments the overall Vorgok message of banging your head, get in the pit and on the stage and dive like it used to be.
“Kill them Dead” starts off slowly compared to the rest of the album so far and this is one where you see the band on stage and nod in appreciation of what is being displayed in front of you. The riff this time is much more of a thrash vein with the sound of Exodus and Slayer as they are today. Edu’s vocals I swear are so like Tom Araya’s of old and the solos reminiscent of the thrash days of the same era. All of us in the older generation will be all nostalgic with this one.
Where “Kill them Dead” gave the listener a chance to breathe, out came “Last Nail in Our Coffin” that lasts just over a minute and will get the pit started all over again. This is intense, fast as you like and the solos again reminded me of Vader which got me grinning from ear to ear. This song is over before you know it but it is a killer of a song.
“Antagonistic Hostility” is pure Exodus worship with the song again slow to mid-paced to begin with, intelligent lyrics about rising against the current political climate. I wonder who this could be against…? Halfway through the song it picks up the pace again and this time I thought of Anthrax before being swamped by those solos again.
“Hell’s Portrait” pictures me stamping my feet in appreciation of the stomping riffs, I couldn’t believe my ears. Death metal riffs and vocals kick in and got me windmilling my neck in appreciation. Now ladies and gentlemen, this is a tune and is homage to the death metal influences that Vorgok have. Then halfway through the song, a mixture of thrash, blast beats, chaos and armageddon ensues and all I can see is the pit going mental at this. The amount of time changes in this song in particular is incredible and I must admit, I would love it if they had more songs like this, but this is the death metal fan coming out in me, but I am sure Edu and Vorgok wouldn’t mind!
“Headless Children” is next and I was like, are Vorgok doing a WASP cover? The opening riff soon puts that to bed and it’s pure thrash through and through. Lyrics about gang warfare being prevalent throughout youth culture in Brazil and the negative effects this has on everybody is the lyrical theme. The music is slowed down for this song in order to emphasise the lyrics and vocals evoking a message of sorrow for the climate in Brazil.
“Man Wolf to Man” starts off with an old Sepultura riff before unleashing speed metal of the highest order. It’s velocity all the way with this tune, remembering the days of old and paying homage to the old gods of thrash. Slave trade is the topic, the music fitting to the lyrical attack on such horror and disgust of the current system.
After an acoustic instrumental of “Drowning” sending you spiralling down twisting and turning at sea, “Mass Funeral at Sea” about the Syrian refugees blasts forth through these speakers and it’s a near six minute masterpiece. Slow chugging riffs courtesy of Death in their Spiritual Healing days starts things off and it’s then death metal vocals all the way. I got the air guitar out of the cupboard again and started moshing to this one.
This is a close second personal favourite on the album and it’s so refreshing to hear a band display such a serious message in this way, merging the best elements of thrash and death to get their point across. A brilliant and fitting way to end this album with bells, sea waves and with a single note riff bringing this album to a close.
Overall, this has reignited the flame for me again of thrash metal and I urge anyone into extreme metal as a whole to give this a listen. Vorgok have set themselves an almighty benchmark so it will be interesting to see what they come up with next. Vorgok bring something different to the scene and I can only see a bright future for them.
Get in touch with them, like them on Facebook, spread the word of all things Vorgok as I feel that they deserve all the recognition for what they are doing, the message they are portraying and the sheer musicianship on show here. Thanks Mike for the recommendation. Now I recommend Vorgok to all you readers here at Moshville Times.
Assorted Evils is out now.