Witches Brew Round-Up:
Ok, here’s a massive fucking review. So grab some popcorn, or a beer, find a comfortable seat, and dive in.
Our commander in chief sent me 9 releases from the German label… and it’s lucky (for him) that I’m a fan of the label. So it no particular order, let’s check out what they are dishing up.
We begin with in Portugal with Ravensire and their 2 track 7” single, Tyrant’s Dictum.
While the lead track is extremely competent, it doesn’t really set my heart racing. It sounds like most of the bands from my NWOBHM loving teenage years, but doesn’t really add anything to the genre, bar the very fluid guitar work, which is a real highlight.
The re-working of Facing The Wind is a much better track, as it takes you back to Iron Maiden’s debut album. It’s full of energy as well. So buy the single for this, not the A side.
We’re off to Argentina next with Witchnight and their 4 tracker, Unholy Speed Metal… Now I wonder what sort of music they are going to play?
Actually, the title is slightly confusing as I wouldn’t call this Speed Metal… although the prefix of Unholy is spot on. This, to my ears, at least, is Blackened Thrash. It’s a dirty barrage of sounds, including some evil vocals with some effective high pitched screams. Maybe they should have called this Unholy Bullet Belt Assassins instead.
The pace is unrelenting from start to finish, which is perfectly fine with me. With song titles such as Slut of Hell and Die by the Blade, they aren’t going to win any prizes for originality, but fuck, this is a great release.
Hailing from Trenton, NJ, comes Midnite Hellion, and Traditional Heavy Metal is their music of choice.
I don’t do it very often, but I’ll sit on the fence with this one.
I’m loving the music. It’s Heavy Metal meets Thrash and it’s full of beans… but I’m not a massive fan of the vocals. Yet at the same time, I can’t be negative about them either. It’s all down to personal taste and I’m simply not a fan of Rich Kubik’s delivery style. Apart from the all-out blast of Cross The Line, which suits his style much better.
Make your own mind up with the clip below
We’re going to drop in on Greece’s Fyrecross next, and the re-issue of their 2016 debut, Burn Them To The Ground, which Witches Brew released earlier this year.
It’s certainly the loudest release I’ve played so far, with Giorgos Skourtaniotis’ vocals sounding like they are about to leap from the speakers.
The potential is obvious, but they need some work on the production as the lead vocals are way too high in the mix, while the Accept style gangshouts are buried way too deep.
Again, the guitar work is outstanding and I reckon the Brew Mistress (owner of Witches Brew) has a thing for loud guitars as most of the labels output has amazing 6 string action.
Definitely ones to watch, but they really need to iron out their sound deficiencies.
Time for another 7” single, this time from Under Assault who hail from Asunción, Paraguay. And Fyrecross should check these guys out as the styles aren’t that far apart, but the execution from Under Assault is absolutely spot on.
NWOBHM meets Thrash. Lashings of guitar solos, breakneck vocals and some well balanced gangshouts = an absolutely perfect release.
It’s a shame that there are only 2 tracks on offer as I want to hear more…
They are by far my favourite band from the label so far today
We’re heading back to Greece for Böneyard and the terribly titled Below Mediocrity.
Unfortunately the title isn’t the worse thing about this release. The vocals sound like they were recorded in an upturned bath. They sound fucking awful. Weirdly though, they don’t sound as bad on the You Tube clip.
I like the chaotic Venom meets Motörhead style of music, but the vocals just kill it for me
I really need Chile’s Demoniac to bring me back to life. And they do just that, with their slightly off-kilter take on Thrash.
I’m not sure if off-kilter or disharmonic are the right phrases, but the riffing has a weird-ish jarring feel to it, but whatever it is, it still works out ok.
And I like the fact that they have a different sound than what’s presented as the norm. Ok, that might mean they will be an acquired taste for some, but for me, my foot has been tapping away and I also enjoy the classical influences they weave into their sound.
So no nonsense, heads down and go for it Thrash, but with bells on.
Next, we have a split album… and I love split albums.
First up, we have Disorder from Nepal and they fire out some molten Thrash, with a vocalist who sounds like Tom Araya with his balls on fire. There’s a bit of old Sepultura going on too in the vocal department circa “What is this shit?!” From Refuse/Resist.
These guys are definitely fighting it out with Under Assault as my favourite band from the review pile.
From Nepal, we head over to Lima, Peru for Distruptor for the 2nd part of the split.
Again, it’s in your face Thrash, although the production levels are a couple of notches down the volume scale.
The 4 tracks are from their only release, so far, which is a limited release tape… so I’m sure this is the 1st time most people will have discovered them. And this is why I love split releases, most of the time, you get to hear bands that would normally pass you by
Right onto the last release of this Witches Bew marathon… and it’s Raptore from Buenos Aires
The biography describes them as high octane Metal, which is pretty much spot on… but the 1st thing I noticed was the vocals, which instantly reminded me of the 80s version of Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot, back when they were a Metal band.
Musically, this is more akin to Girlschool and Hellrazor on the Screaming Blue Murder album, with everything cranked up way beyond 11.
The album was originally released in South America last year, but this European version has a couple of bonus tracks
My Brew-athon is at an end… and it’s been a very enjoyable few hours wading through the good, the bad and the ugly.
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