Witching Metal Webzine

Witching Metal Webzine

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Daemon Foetal Harvest – Where It Dwells

Daemon Foetal Harvest are death metal band from Wollongong, NSW, Australia (local to me! Ha.) who play a mix of old-school and modern style death metal. I would place their influences primarily in the early American scene, bands such as Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel and most obviously… Cannibal Corpse (lots of blast beats and splatter movie type imagery on display here).

The production is very clear on this album, so you can hear everything that is going on but it’s not so clean that it sounds sterile. The guitar and bass sound is strictly early 90s American death metal which is driven along by competent drumming. However, the drums could use a bit more variety, as they mostly just blast blast blast all the way home, which leaves little room for variety within the actual songs. All that being said, the songs certainly are not BAD, they’re just a little too consistent.

Every track on this release is good, solid sounding modern death metal with salutes to the early American bands. These guys know what they want to achieve with their sound and they do it well. This style of death metal isn’t usually my cup of joe, but DFH hit the spot when I’m in the mood for that constant blasting “brutal” assault that so many bands TRY to pull off but fail miserably at.

There are plenty of manic noodly riffs and killer solos to keep any DM fan happy, however, the album is too consistent for me to choose any stand out tracks and I would rather just listen to the whole thing in one sitting regardless.
While not necessarily my style, this is a killer album and definitely worth the listen if you’re after some solid headbanging death metal.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Arisen From the Crypt Monthly Special #2: Necronomicon – Necronomicon

Well, it seems I have received good feedback on my first montly old-school review, so I will continue digging through my collection for something that deserves your attention each month! So here’s some underrated (in my opinion, at least) German thrash…

Necronomicon formed way back in 1983 but didn’t get a demo out until 1985 (they released 2 demos that year, actually) and released their debut self-titled full length in ’86, so I guess they kind of missed the ball on the whole “German thrash explosion” thing which prevented them from getting the kind of recognition that has seen Sodom, Kreator and Destruction heralded as 80’s thrash metal giants.

What can thrash aficionados expect from this album? How about something that sounds very similar to early Destruction? Snarling Schimer-esque vocals, crunchy guitars and killer riffs to match and competent drumming. Sadly, the bass seems to drop in an out here, but I think that’s more of a production problem which is unfortunate because aside from this small detail I think the production is perfect (keep in mind, though, I have the reissue which was put out in 2007 by Battle Cry records, which also has a different tracklisting to the original).

One thing about this band that will stick out to most listeners is the Destruction comparisons, which unfortunately can’t exactly be avoided, but I think it’s very unfair to the band to refer to them as a “poor mans Destruction”, because if you can ignore the comparisons I think you will find plenty to like with this band and their releases (the third full length “Escalation” is essential German thrash listening). Infact, after listening to this band for a long time, I actually prefer them over Destruction.

For me, the standout track on this album is “Possessed by Evil”, which is an absolute stomper of a thrash metal song and I would put it up there with the likes of “Riot of Violence” by Kreator and “Nuclear Winter” by Sodom. In other words; it’s a classic track!

The big let down with “Necronomicon” is that the tracks are pretty inconsistent with a lot of hit-and-miss going on, but they redeem themselves with tracks like “Possessed by Evil” and “Magic Forest”.

I would recommend this album and band to every old-school thrash aficionado out there. Give it a chance, and keep in mind, the band does improve on their later releases, so don’t be too put off by the sloppiness of their debut, if that’s the kind of thing that puts you off.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mongrels Cross - Whoresanna

Mongrels Cross are a filthy three-piece black/thrash band from Brisbane, Australia, who have recently been getting their name out there with their new EP “Whoresanna”. I somehow ended up with a promo CD of theirs in my pocket at Evil Invaders III, after listening to it a few times I came to the conclusion that these guys are right up my alley and set to checking out the EP.

The band is clearly influenced by first-wave black metal bands such as Sarcofago, Hellhammer and Bathory as well as other Australian bands such as Vomitor and Gospel of the Horns and I can hear a decent amount of crusty punk in their sound as well. You can expect mid-range crusty “barking” metal style vocals that are nice and rough, a pretty punky guitar sound (obvious Motorhead influence on the riffage here), straightforward metal/punk drumming typical of thrash metal with a bit of d-beat thrown in for good measure and reasonably audible bass.

All three songs on this release tend to stick to a mid-to-fast pace and are very catchy. What’s not to love about Motorhead riffs and d-beats? I’d say track two, “A New Light” is my favourite on here, but all three are great and it’s hard to choose. If you’re looking for something super-original then you can piss off and go read some shitty hipster ‘zine. Mongrels Cross is where it’s at!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Hellcrawler - Wastelands

Hellcrawler are a 5-piece from Slovenia who sound like a fast paced and heavy as fuck blend of Motorhead, Discharge and early Swedish death metal a la Entombed and Dismember. D-beats, heavy riffs, aggressive growling vocals and pounding bass are the main things this band have to offer, and they do it pretty well!

The opening song “Devastation” starts off with a short sample/intro before getting down to business with the d-beats and hard-hitting riffs! This will put any death metal or crust fan in the mood pretty quickly.

There’s not a huge amount of originality on this record, but that’s the beauty of it, really. Who needs originality when you have d-beats and hard rocking riffs?! The songs here are shrouded in an urgent post-apocalyptic atmosphere, conjuring up images of psychotic wasteland warfare and insanity.

The production on this record is perfect. You can hear every harder than hell riff, every catchier than the clap drum beat, every thumping bassline and the vocals are loud and clear in the mix. I really couldn’t ask for a better production job on an album of this style, so raise a beer for their production guy, he did an excellent job!

Like most albums that I listen to in the “metalpunk” style, I can’t really choose any standout songs, as they all flow together and keep a pretty consistent mood throughout the whole 30 minutes the album runs for. It’s a short and sweet album, and I enjoyed every moment of it.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Portrait - Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae

Formed in 2004, Swedish band Portrait have been making waves in the underground since the release of their debut self-titled full length back in 2008. I haven’t heard the debut full length as this band has flown pretty low under my radar until recently, but what I can tell you about the new album “Crimen Laesae Majestatis Divinae” is that it’s a dark mixture of Mercyful Fate worship, old-school German heavy metal (Helloween, Blind Guardian, etc) and 80’s speed metal.

This is an album that grabs you by the throat instantly, opening with the energetic “Beast of Fire”, which sets the old-school fist pumping metal vibe that will carry on throughout the whole album. High-pitched vocals, epic guitar solos, headbanging riffs, it’s all there. The makings of a killer heavy metal anthem!

The guitar work throughout every song is a definite highlight, consistently mirroring Hank Shermann and Michael Denner’s shredding on the earlier Mercyful Fate releases. Per Karlsson’s vocals certainly echo the great King Diamond (albeit with a lower register voice) with high-soaring falsettos and sinister howls, but he also has his own voice and isn’t about to sing in a Mercyful Fate tribute band or something. The drumming is competent and drives each song along nicely. Bass isn’t very audible, but you can still “feel” it.

The production might be a bit too “clean” for some blokes, but as far as I’m concerned it’s nothing worth complaining about and suits the music fine. I reckon it gives a nice mix of “raw and polished”, which is also how I would describe the music; they are a raw heavy metal band who know their chops and have a tight-knit structure.

Most of the songs are reasonably long, going over the 5 minute mark, excluding the instrumental third track “The Wilderness Beyond” but they don’t get boring or stale, each of these tracks stand on their own merit and keep my interest the whole way through. My personal standout tracks would be “Bloodbath”, “Darkness Forever” and “The Nightcomers”, funnily enough these three tracks play in succession, so you could also say the “middle” is my favourite part of the album.

All in all, Portrait may have a sound that derives a LOT from Mercyful Fate’s legacy, but they are a band who truly shines as their own entity and stand out from the crowd of “revival” bands that seem to be everywhere at the moment. Anyone after some good old ‘eavy metal full of killer riffs and catchy hooks should track this gem down, this album is worth every cent.