Witching Metal Webzine

Witching Metal Webzine

Friday, November 30, 2012

Midgard- Satellite Review


Hailing from the rocky state of Colorado, Midgard have released their first full length album, Satellite. The death metal quartet draw influences from death, black, and some power metal. Reunited just last year, they're out to show the world what they can do. 

Combinations of death metal and power metal usually make for some interesting songs. There's a variety of harsh and clean vocals throughout the album, as well as aggressive and melodic riffs. "Until the Sirens Call" really embellishes the blend of genres. The harsh singing in the verses and the clean singing in the chorus is rather nifty. And face pounding riffs aren't too shabby either, but the tinkling piano kind of draws away from the aggression. "Oracle" and "Waves of Acheron" have the better pieces of guitar work, "Waves" has a cool broken chord pattern in the beginning and then breaks out into some toxic riffs and "Oracle" has a great midtempo ball buster of a riff, as well as some good leads.

The album certainly has it's moments, but there are a few places -just a few- that seem off. This might sound blasphemous, considering the band has a black metal tinge to it, but a little bit more production wouldn't have hurt. It's very raw sounding, which is great, but they aren't the type that's playing jackhammer blastbeats and tremolo picking at 300 bpm (production wouldn't be necessary then really). In some moments, the clean singing can throw the song off the rails, like the middle part in "Absolute Zero Heart," and some of the solos are off key it seems, but perhaps that's just nitpicking.

Overall, it's a pretty decent output (I wouldn't review it if I didn't remotely like it). It sounds like a raw form of Crimson Shadows, which is an awesome thing in itself. They're officially releasing the album in December, so check them out if you want a physical copy. Go listen to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Drawn and Quartered – Feeding Hell’s Furnace

So, not long ago, a friend of mine told me to look up this American death metal band called Drawn and Quartered, whom I’d not previously heard of, although they have been around since 1993. As it turns out, not only is their brand of OSDM up my alley; but they had also put out their sixth album in June, entitled “Feeding Hell’s Furnace” on stellar Greek label Nuclear Winter Records.

The main thing I noticed about this album, is that just by listening to the production and the song-writing, you can really tell that Drawn and Quartered are experienced in the macabre art of old-school death metal and that they have truly been there from the beginning. This is not some silly “comeback album” or something along those lines, this is true death metal darkness. The production is suitably ancient, sounding as if this was recorded in the early days when Drawn and Quartered was a young band.

The vocals are deep and multi-layered, giving extra power, atmosphere and energy to the tracks; in fact, Herb Burke just might be my new favourite USDM vocalist. The guitars on this album are huge and quite possibly the highlight, the atmosphere they build around the drums and vocals is jaw-dropping, as well as the incredibly sick and twisted solos spread throughout songs such as; “Feeding Hell’s Furnace” and “Mutilated Offerings”, to name a couple.

If you’re a fan of old-school USDM, especially the bands; Morbid Angel, Immolation, Incantation and Monstrosity, whom DaQ clearly take most of their influence from, then “Feeding Hell’s Furnace” just might be the best death metal record that you’ll hear this year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Demon Dogs – Demon Dogs E.P.

Demon Dogs is a heavy metal band hailing from Seattle, featuring members of Death Squad, Coven (the thrash band with the funny songs; not the 70s occult rock band) and Midnight Idöls and a sound that fuses the best elements of the NWOBHM, Judas Priest and early thrash metal in to a unique and personal sound that sets them apart from other “retro” acts, their self-titled debut E.P. is a bloody ripper!

Their sound is characterized by thunderous double-bass rhythms, soaring vocals and big solo parts that feature in every song. The songs have a raw edge that makes them sound a lot older than they actually are, which helps to keep the band from sounding like just another retro act, as I find an overly clean sound can ruin a lot of new heavy metal releases.

If you’re a fan of Judas Priest, Metal Church, Mercyful Fate or early Queensrÿche (if you’re not, why are you reading Witching Metal?!), you should find something to enjoy on each of the four songs presented on this E.P. Demon Dogs is definitely a band to watch out for in the future!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vomitor - The Escalation

Two years after the release of their second album, Vomitor has unleashed their third full length, entitled “The Escalation”. Those looking for evolution and innovation should stop reading now, Vomitor plays old-school alcohol drenched death metal exclusively. Falses; do not entry.

I'm not going to say much about this album, as this type of music speaks for itself, really. Vomitor’s sound is best described as a mix of early Brazillian death/thrash a la early Sepultura and Sarcófago, “Obsessed by Cruelty” era Sodom, (VERY early) Morbid Angel, early Metallica all drenched in a slathering of old-school Venom and Hellhammer ugliness. These influences combine to produce a familiar yet unique sound.

There’s plenty of muddled feedback and noise in the guitar sound, which adds a dimension of filth to the thrashing riffs and complements Death Dealer’s barking rasps in a strangely satisfying manner.  Also worth mentioning are the killer guitar solos, courtesy of frontman Death Dealer and Portal axe-slinger Horror Illogium, which sound straight out of 1986.

Once again Vomitor has delivered a killer album without changing much at all and still managing not to sound repetitive or boring. Death metal or diiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bleakwood/Ekadzati Split 7" KICKSTARTER info.

Since Witching Metal is all about supporting the underground in any way that we can, I've decided to make a quick post regarding an upcoming split between two Sydney black metal bands. The upcoming split between Bleakwood and Ekadzati is being funded by a new thing called Kickstarter. They are one third of the way to their goal of $1,500. There are some pretty cool deals for people who pledge, as well.

All relevant information can be found at the following link; http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/belulrolpusztit/bleakwood-ekadzati-split-7

Please, check this out, pledge a couple of bucks and support underground metal!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Burning Shadows- Gather, Darkness! Review

Hooooly shit, Batman. It's been way too long since I've done a review, hasn't it? Sorry folks, I've been swamped with a lot of things for my own time (had a show to get ready for and history papers to write). Well, I've got a little bit of free time, so let's try to catch up on some stuff.

Here we've got Burning Shadows, a heavy/power metal band hailing from Maryland. They released their sophomore full-length, Gather, Darkness!, sometime earlier this year. They have a good blend of US heavy metal and some European power metal influences, something akin to Hammerfall, Blind Guardian, and Iced Earth. It's as if Manowar and Falconer had a love-child together. Whilst they do use some rather symphonic parts to embellish their music, they're by no means a "symphonic power metal" band.

The album starts out with a softer sounding orchestra-style instrumental, "Overture: Hymn to Sathanas." It gradually builds up tension, with it's war drum march and bombastic lines from an orchestra, and leads the listener into the heavy stuff. The first actual song, "A Thousand Lies: A New Dark Age," keeps in line with the war march as the mid-tempo riffs plod along. The vocalist sings a baritone, which gives the song (and the rest of the album, if you will), a "macho" sound. Alongside the chunky guitar riffs are nice melodic lines, interluding between different parts of the song.

 Now, to bring it off tangent just a bit, if one doesn't look at the track listing while listening to this album, the songs are going to sound like they're fifteen minutes long. And, technically, that would be correct. However, like a true concerto, the album consists of "movements." Essentially, it's like three big songs, but each are broken into different parts. That's going to sound like these guys are pretentious, classical-listening, high-browed, blowhards, but in this case it's very well done. Each song flows perfectly together that unless one is paying attention to the iPod, the change of songs is hard to notice. So after "A Thousand Lies: A New Dark Age" comes "A Thousand Lies: Intra Vires" and "A Thousand Lies: Onward," but everything flows so well and each song sounds different enough that a listener won't be bored by listening to the same theme over and over.

Personally, the highlights of this album are: "A Thousand Lies: Intra Vires," "To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth," "To Ruin & Divide: Kingdoms Fall," and "Breaking the Sanctuary: The Infamous Dawn." Honestly, the entire "To Ruin & Divide" portion of the album kicks some serious ass. It's heavy and has plenty of energy, and the choruses have a hooky melody that reels you in. "Intra Vires" would satisfy the people with the need for speed, although it's not superbly fast like a tech death band.

The album is produced very well for an independent band, every instrument is clear and nothing is muddled. It's a very well-written album, and the effort really shows in the work. However, some of the instrumentals are on the long side, which would make casual listeners want to switch away. The album sets at forty-five minutes, which some of the songs ranging from six to seven minutes. That being said, it's not a boring listen. It's actually enjoyable.

If you're a fan of epic, war-rallying metal, then this is something for you!

Gitchoo sum!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Necroven – Worship of Humiliation

Necroven is a one-man death metal project located in Spain and influenced by bands such as Immolation, Incantation, Gorephobia, Autopsy and other early 90’s American acts as well as Finnish legends Abhorrence and Demigod. “Worship of Humiliation” is Necroven’s debut album, which was recently released on Memento Mori Records following two demos released earlier in the year.

The first thing that hit me when listening to Necroven was the atmosphere; dark, evil, claustrophobic and cavernous. This is not the type of release where I can describe the sound of each individual instrument (although; the guitar tone reminds me a LOT of early Immolation…), as they work together as a unit to create something completely crushing. The music is mostly slow to mid tempo yet occasionally speeds up to blast beats, keeping things interesting. Speaking of interesting; our man J.R. incorporates plenty of creepy melodies in to his song writing, which definitely remind me of the older Finnish acts and which mix in rather well with the old USDM influence.

It’s impossible to choose stand-out tracks, as every song on “Worship of Humiliation” is as good as the one before and after it. It’s a very consistent and very good album.

I find it really hard to believe that “Worship of Humiliation” was composed by one individual. “Worship of Humiliation” is yet another album to add to the list of killer 2012 releases, even if you are starting to tire of the OSDM worship (shame on you if you are!!!).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

War Possession - Through the Ages

War Possession is a Greek death metal band who shares members with Embrace of Thorns, Wargoat and a few other underground acts. They previously released a demo in 2008, the same year the band was formed. “Through the Ages” is their first EP, which is soon to be released on Hellthrasher Productions.

The band draws on a variety of influences, with the most noticeable being Bolt Thrower, Benediction and Grave, with a hint of darker death metal a la early Morbid Angel, early Immolation, the early Finnish acts (specifically; Demigod and Convulse) and even the occasional grind influence in some of the riffs. Most of the songs groove along and pummel the listener in to submission, whilst occasionally straying in to darker and more atmospheric parts. The main focus, however, is on the crushingly heavy riffs and War Possession definitely delivers in that department.

This EP is also similar in parts to fellow Greek death metallers Nocturnal Vomit’s recent album “Cursed Relics”, which can’t be too much of a coincidence, seeing as one of their members provides additional vocals on the killer track “Medieval Bloodlust”.

Overall, War Possession has put out a great collection of songs that shows great potential and should hopefully earn the band some recognition in underground circles. If you’re not tired of all the OSDM worship being released recently, I would highly recommend that you track down a copy of this EP.