THORNS – Thorns (re-issue)
Thorns have been around since the late 80’s/early 90’s and are hailed by many as having been a major influence on the Norwegian BM scene right from the start. Indeed, it has been said that Euronymous was so taken with Snorre Ruch’s guitar work that he invited Snorre to join Mayhem and that although Snorre didn’t actually play on De Mysteriis, many of his riffs made it through to the final album. Ultimately, Snorre did 8 years as an accessory to Euronymous’ murder, which goes in part to explain why, after give or take 20 years, “Thorns” remains the band’s only full-length release.
“Thorns” has a stark, futuristic, industrial feel. Hellhammer occupies the drum stool giving a machine-like performance that adds to the inhuman feel of this release. Vocals are shared alternately by Satyr Wongraven and Bjorn Dencker, and Snorre aka Blackthorn handles guitar, keyboards and programming. The latter includes loops, sound effects, much of the bass and some of the drums.
This album was originally released by Moonfog in 2001, but the version under review is a 2011 reissue by Peaceville and includes bonus demo tracks “TSOS” and “Existence” as well as a video for “Vortex”. To be honest, I didn’t like it back then and it doesn’t do much for me now. I remember buying “Thorns Vs Emperor” back in 2000 and still think it is one of the worst albums I have ever heard. It completely turned me off Emperor for life and has quite possibly biased me negatively towards “Thorns”. Personal feelings aside, “Thorns” represents a side of Norwegian BM that never appealed to me – it is too contrived, clinical and studio-driven – too clever for its own good. While it does of course have its moments, this is not one I would recommend.