Thursday, February 2, 2012
I'm a sucker for old-school death/thrash like Ripping Corpse, Massacra, Demolition Hammer or Cancer. One great band in particular is Hellwitch. Hellwitch released their debut in 1991 and then disbanded then reformed in near time and released yet another album. The first I looked at the song tittles I was really shocked by seing names like Viral Exogence, Mordirival Dissemination or the album tittle. But when I push the lyrics aside and concentrate on the music, I really started liking this album. The music is very diverse, complex and actually sometimes melancholic-sounding. Produced by legendary Scott Burns, this album is full of crushing yet very technical riffs, just like Sadus.
As you listen you can clearly understand that this is some heavily thrash influenced death metal, and the vocals are actually much more clear than acts like Suffocation or Cannibal Corpse who reigned supreme at the time. We can classify this as technical death/thrash in the vein of Sadus and early Death. You can hear tons of blistering solos spreading chaos across the whole album, also supported with creepy rythms played in a very technical sense. The heavy thrash influence shows alot, even more than the death metal influence even. The music is totally intense and evil and never tires you out at all, as the guitarists create a cool feast of bulky riffs, traditional death-esque tremolo picking and chaotic solos. The production is very decent-as I couldn't have asked for something better at the time.
The vocals are totally intense. They rise and become these high-pitched guttural shreiks to the classic deep death growls you would see in any DM band. The album can take very interesting forms. I was really shocked when the joyful clean guitar tone suddenly turned into a blistering barrage of atrocious riffs, crushingly executed. And you can get the same shock when Hellwitch decides to go brutal after a melodic guitar affair. Sometimes the band uses effects to create some sort of alien-ish atmosphere of perhaps to help you get into the main theme of the album---space.
Now onto the riffs. Even though I mentioned a bit of the riffage before, I wanted to dedicate a whole paragraph for them, for they are the brightest highlights of the album. Never have I seen a band which so perfectly combine death-esque riffage with brutal thrash and throw in some very good musicianship. The riffs are just wonderfully heavy and chunky and they fuse with the tremolo picking to create an absolutely devastating monster. The production is the prime factor in perfecting this, as it is very heavy and rich just like the riffs. The technical side of the riffs are always present whether they are heavy or melodic-or both. The base lines are also pretty cool, though nothing too notable. The guitrists like using high notes in the riffs just as much as the lower notes to create a signature sound of their own. Combining these three elements that I have listed, Hellwitch create a small trademark sound of their own while creating a furious blend of death and thrash metal.
The riffs are never to repetetive and the vocals are intense and the musicianship is great. Perhaps the only tiny flaw that the album has is it's lenght, which a mere 25 minutes. So the ride won't go on for long...
They say Atheist created technical death/thrash with their albums ''Piece of Time'' and ''Unquestionable Presence'', but those people should really listen to this before being a quick judge of things.