After rising to prominence as the guitarist and keyboardist of the Arizona based progressive death metal band Pain Patterns, Michael Sanchez has branched out into the world of blackened death metal with solo project King Ov Wyrms. Moving away from the technical elements of progressive death metal, King Ov Wyrms sees Sanchez present a straightforward, ruthless, rampaging festival of hard hitting, heavy riffs encased in a thick, apocalyptic atmosphere. Embodying the spirit of the classic late eighties and early nineties acts with a new, modern aggression.
Coming from a classical and jazz background, Sanchez has created an album that is bursting full of raw energy which is executed with absolute precision. This background has given Sanchez the tools to comfortably work on his interpretation of metal music, what is even more remarkable is that Sanchez has developed these aggressive and brutal songs from basic riffs or small melodic piano parts. King Ov Wyrms was born out of a need to satiate Sanchez’s desire to create a purely aggressive album and it is evident that the late eighties/early nineties death and black metal acts such as Morbid Angel, Dark Funeral, and Vader were an influence. It is clear from the song structure and use of discordant melody that these bands have been an inspiration behind the album. With this in mind, Sanchez also demonstrates a conscious effort to include contemporary and modern metal techniques, to create a dynamically rich, textured and somewhat diverse sounding album. One example of this is the combining of melancholic melody alongside vicious blast beats on ‘The Maggots That Crawled From The Wounds’. The song is very reminiscent of that dark, brooding and melodic style of black metal originally pioneered by Dark Funeral but with a more modern death metal vibe, despite being the slowest song on the album.
However, there is a real air of traditionalism on this album, it wouldn’t sound out of place if it was put next to Altars Of Madness, Left Hand Path, and Deicide which isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it has dictated the album’s artistic direction. In some areas it feels like a homage to these albums, ‘From Below’ being the best example of harnessing the chaotic and relentless energy these artists pioneered. The album doesn’t necessarily break new ground, as it sticks fairly rigidly to that set formula laid out in the aforementioned classic albums. The one major disappointment with the album is that any solos are buried so deep in the mix and they can often be missed. Given the formulaic approach, in the longer songs (‘The Maggots That Crawled From The Wounds’ and ‘Ascendance Of A Continual One’) it can become a fairly monotonous listen as nothing seems to stand out and command your attention. However, where the album fails in one area it succeeds in another, and there is no doubting that this is a glorious blackened death metal riff fest. Bringing forth a seething, demonic presence and creating an audible apocalypse for the listener to enjoy.
From the album’s cataclysmic opening with ‘Thredony’ to its closing dissonant chord found in ‘Ascendance Of A Continual One’ which echoes into the back void, this is a straightforward blackened death metal album that is out to take the scene by the throat. However, even though Lord Ov Thornes creates a brutally dark, brooding and ruthlessly heavy album, it feels more like a satisfying homage to those that have come before which distracts from the expert musicianship shown by Sanchez.