Band Homepage: http://www.orkusband.com/
Label Homepage: www.undercover-records.de/
Released in 2000 on Undercover Records, “Thorns” is the second of three currently available releases. Consisting of 12 tracks with a total playing time of 55:38, it is incredible. “Thorns” is intense Black Thrash with thick melodies and progressive changeups throughout. The guitar work is nothing short of amazing, and is not afraid to display technical ability. This having been said, it is also reserved enough to avoid the choppy and pointless lead runs that too many egotists indulge in. Every single note has purpose and impact, everything fits, and the end result is I’m impressed to the point of being jealous that I cannot play as well. The drumming is another item that stands out in both sheer power and technical complexity. From hammering blastbeats to rolling thunder doublekick, every aspect is executed with precision and is absolutely perfect for the stage of the particular song. It is indeed the engine that provides the power that runs the rest of the sound. Anything less would sound weak, anything more would sound pretentious. And finally, the vocals. This is where I am nearly at a loss for words. I have heard hundreds of different vocalists, and while many stand out to me for one reason or another, the vocals on this album define all that I look for in Black Metal. They are forceful and full of power, with no artificial distortion or effects. These are just utterly grim and purely spiteful vocals. In short, they are perfect.
When I first heard this album, I absolutely raged about it to anyone who would listen. But, since I know that I have a tendency to totally rage about a new album when I first hear it and then let it drop off the charts in the next week or so as it looses it’s “new”, I wanted to make sure that my fanatical attraction to this band and this album in particular was not a passing fancy or a new interest that would fade soon after. I have had this album since mid 2001, and I can safely say that when I rattle off my “favorite album” list, “Thorns” hits the top 20 every single time, no matter what else I happen to be listening to at the time. That is how powerful this album is to me.
But sadly, “Thorns” is an album that few people have even heard of, let alone actually heard. And of course, the same goes for the band itself. Orkus is a 5-man lineup from Germany, which is one of the main reasons I think no one has heard of them. It seems like no one looks to the Fatherland for decent music anymore, even though there are many amazing bands that damn well deserve some attention and respect. In my opinion, Orkus is at the forefront of those bands. I’ll just chalk this up to the long running situation of how some of the best Black Metal bands that ever exist are also the ones that remain the most obscure and unknown. I could rage on and on about this band and this album. Suffice to say, if you don’t know of Orkus and do not have “Thorns”, it is your loss.