The monolithic cyclops that adorns the cover art of Draghoria’s “Portal To Extinction” tells you everything you need to know about this record: it unleashes devastating brutality and crushes everything in its path! This album is Draghoria’s debut effort, and is certainly an inspired effort. The basic approach is a relentless thrashing attack with vocals that toe the line between death metal and thrash metal (leaning more towards the latter). The riffing is a constant barrage of enjoyable, albeit predictable, guitar work. All of the classic thrash metal techniques are in full display, as there is plenty of staccato playing, palm-muting, absurdly fast down-picking, and galloping.
Even though the band has a moderate range of tempos, most of this record feels as though it goes by in a flash because of the consistent vocal attack. Draghoria’s singer spits out words at a rapid fire pace, leaving little room for breathing. The result is something akin to Demolition Hammer, though obviously not quite as strong. In general, Draghoria’s songs would benefit from being a bit shorter, as most of them fall between 5-6 minutes. Given the constant chaotic riffing, these tracks would be better served by stripping them down into more digestible sizes. Nevertheless, there’s not a moment on this album that doesn’t rule. Both “Suicide Serenity” and “Crowning The Tyrant” have particularly memorable sections scattered throughout, and even if the songs feel a bit directionless at times, they continually offer great riffs.
The lone exception to this sound is “The Visitor”, a shorter instrumental piece. This song is the classic acoustic interlude, and rules as much as any other I’ve heard. Draghoria even pays homage to possibly the greatest classical instrumental of all time: Annihilator’s “Crystal Ann”. “The Visitor” closes with a line from “Crystal Ann”, and sets the stage for the aptly titled “Awaken The Wicked” that follows. At this point, the band resumes their thrashing course. As you may have guessed, “Portal To Extinction” does nothing to reinvent the wheel, and that’s the way many thrashers like it. This is a far better effort than what many other similar bands are doing, and it shows absolutely no compromise. With slightly tighter songwriting, it is easy to see Draghoria ascending to the heights of bands like Havok or Exmortus. For now, they are still capable of putting together an excellent thrash release that should appeal to all fans of the subgenre!
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"Crowning The Tyrant"
"Kill Or Be Killed"
4.25/5 or 85%.
Written by Scott