01. Vicious Avidity
02. Sought to Beguile
03. Opiatic Luminance
04. Neolithic Journey
06. Mythologicalies (Enlightened Paganus)
07. Irreverent Salvation
08. Final Approach
09. Days of Nemesis
10. Epitome of Disgrace
11. Infernal Death (Death's cover)
Formados en el '84 y 19 años después de su debut, éstos maestros de Florida regresan con su 2º álbum, mejores que nunca, con su inconfundible estilo de agresivo, técnico y rabioso Death/Thrash que será todo un clásico instantáneo. Puro culto!! HELLWITCH te poseerán!!
The Florida metal scene spawned a lot of bands throughout the mid 80’s and early 90’s, but one that may have flown under the radar of quite a few listeners is Hellwitch. Formed in 1984, the group released a bunch of demos and a full length album in 1990 before disappearing from the scene for awhile. A few years ago they decided to continue where they left off and have now released a new album entitled Omnipotent Convocation. For those who are unfamiliar with the band, they play a mixture of technical death/thrash metal that is similar in some ways to Atheist but has a sound of its own. These guys may have been away from the scene for a little while but they certainly haven’t lost any of their ability and have created an album that is killer from start to finish.
I’m not entirely sure what the members of Hellwitch were doing while the band was inactive, but it must have had something to do with music as none of them have lost their technical skills. In fact, there are moments on Omnipotent Convocation that might be even faster and complex than anything the band wrote in the early 90’s as quite a few of these songs hit listeners with super fast riffs and then transition into mid-tempo sections before speeding up again. Admittedly some music of this type falls into the trap of being too riff focused and not ensuring that the overall tracks are memorable, but Hellwitch has been able to write songs that are distinguishable from one another and have some individual moments that will stick with you. The entire effort has been given a very clean production, and this appears to have been the right decision as it makes the instrumentals stand out even more.
While listening to Omnipotent Convocation, you’ll likely discover just how much you like the extreme side of thrash vocals. Lead singer Patrick Ranieri has one of those ear piercing shrieks that still has enough enunciation to make the lyrics distinguishable, and I realize that these kind of thrash vocals are a bit of an acquired taste for some people. But I personally found that the amount of energy his screams brought to the music were very impressive, and the fact that Ranieri can keep up with the instrumentals is quite an achievement. I’m not sure where Hellwitch came up with some of these lyrical ideas though, as songs such as “Opiatic Luminance” and “Mythologicalies (Enlightened Paganus)” make it sound like the band was thumbing through their thesaurus as they wrote this effort.
Listeners who were familiar with Hellwitch years ago will likely debate whether Omnipotent Convocation is better than the band’s first full length or not, but no matter which conclusion they come to there is no denying that this is still one hell of an album. The group hasn’t lost any of their technical skills and is still capable of writing songs that blow you away with crazy riffs while also ensuring the track as a whole is memorable. Hopefully this reunion continues and these guys give us more material in the coming years, as it seems as though they have a lot more to offer listeners.
In their original days Hellwitch seemed like a curious exception from the standards of thrash and proto death metal. After a long wait, their second full-length release Omnipotent Convocation proves that the band were not a one-album wonder after all, and that Syzygial Miscreancy was not a mere accident to happen. In times like these when the most typical thrash metal bands appear too predictable and stale for their own good, it is kind of refreshing to hear this kind of unorthodox and somewhat chaotic rhythms still played. On this album the band's music sounds maybe a bit more refined but also even more deadly than in the past, and the fun factor is definitely high. While it can require something of an acquired taste to fully appreciate this musical anarchy, there is no denying that Hellwitch can be trusted to deliver the goods with a maximum effect.
Almost 20 years have passed since the Old school Floridian Technical Death/Thrash band Hellwitch released their first full length debut album, Syzgial Miscreancy, and 19 years later, the 'Witch have proved they are still just as bad ass as they were back then.
Hellwitch plays a mixture of Death metal that is on the very fringes of being really Brutal Thrash Metal with some blazing guitar solos in between just for good measure. They were also one of the very first bands to emerge out of the Florida Death Metal scene, and after taking a slight break in the mid 90's, have re-united to create yet another old school masterpiece. Though Omnipotent Convocation may not have the same "feel" to it that Szygial Miscreancy did, this is still one hell of an album for any fan of old school death/thrash metal who likes to hear some blazing fast guitar shredding too.
One of the complaints i have with this album is that some of the tunes have been featured on some of the Witch's earlier material (the song "Final Approach" can also be heard on their EP "final Aproach"), so it feels like I'm listening to a song I've already heard before. However, the new material on this release is definitely their best work since Syzgial Miscreancy, the song Mythologicallies is my favorite track on the album, Mysteria, and Days of Nemesis are also excellent Technical Deathened Thrash Metal tunes.
Out of all of the Death Metal bands to emerge out of the Florida Scene, Hellwitch are probably the most tragically underrated, but luckily, they have managed to keep their sound true throughout their long stretched musical career; if you've been looking for a great band that's been overlooked for way too long, Hellwitch's album Omnipotent Convocation may be exactly what you've been looking for.
Por fín, y tras años de cambios de formación y problemas varios, los death-thrashers americanos Hellwitch editan su segundo álbum, "Omnipotent Convocation". Fundados en 1984, solo publicaron un larga duración en 1990, "Syzygial Miscreancy", y a mediados de los 90 se separaron. Hasta ahora, cosa que es una suerte para todos los seguidores del thrash más brutal y el death primordial americano, ya que "Omnipotent Convocation" es un disco que rezuma la gresividad del death-thrash más bestia al estilo de unos Malevolent Creation, y lo combina con partes muy técnicas reminiscentes un poco de antiguos Morbid Angel. "Omnipotent Convocation" es oprimente, oscuro, tétrico, pero también agresivo, elaborado y está repleto de histéricos riffs y solos alocados.
"Omnipotent Convocation" nos presenta estructras complejas, cambios de ritmo y ataques de doble bombo, pero toda esa perfección técnica y de ejecucion no se queda en la superficie, si no que crea un ambiente oscuro y a la vez lleno de agresividad, que anima tanto a mover la cabeza como a meterse en un mosh pit a toda velocidad. Partes a medio tiempo, como por ejemplo en "Mythologicalies" se intercambian con solos estrambóticos y atonales y repentinos ataques de velocidad, con una sección de ritmo muy pesada y a la vez precisa. Otros temas como "Irreverant Salvation" tienen un toque más thrash, de hecho, ese tema en concreto es un temazo de thrash bestia. El disco es homogéneo, pero no monotono, engancha desde el principio y en cada escucha se puede descubrir algo nuevo. A destacar: "Vicious Avidity", "Final approach", "Epitome of Disgrace". Apropiadamente, "Omnipotent Convocation" termina con una versión de Death, del tema "Infernal Death". Creativo a tope, perfectamente ejecutado, un verdadero disfrute para los amigos del death y thrash técnico. ¡Imprescindible!
Last month my colleague Koen held an interview with the crazy thrashers from Hellwitch. I always thought this band disbanded after their hysterical thrash album ’Syzygial Miscreancy’ (1990), but guess what? Yup, they didn’t. Okay, the band was laying on its ass between 1998 and 2004, but besides this little hibernation this band is already 25 years still going strong. Strong on a regional level in Fort Lauderdale, unfortunately, just so now and then releasing a demo or EP which were damn hard to find, especially here in Europe.
Since I am very much into Sadus, I didn’t exactly understand why I didn’t listen to the Slayer-meets-Atheist on 78 RPM more often, since it’s a bit in the same vein, Hellwitch being just a bit more frantic, chaotic and crazy. If I listen to it, then I’m very enthusiastic, but after that the CD vanished in my archive for a couple of years and my interest fades away. Maybe because the songs sound more like a pile of insane riffs instead of real songs? Even a lit bit gimmick-ish. Although that’s not really a bad thing, eventually it lacks the impact of a real (cult) classic.
‘Omnipotent Convocation’ is the glorious comeback of the insane thrash riff! What’s even more important is that the songs sound more like songs, the production is thicker and deeper and that Hellwitch still sounds like Hellwitch and nobody else. Although the band sounds a tad less schizophrenic and Pat Ranieri’s infernal squealing scream-growls are like a half octave lower, they still live by the rule “play your thrash like fucked-up shit!” They’re twenty years older, but they still play tight as fuck and insane as a horde of gherkins. A couple of songs are re-recorded versions of songs from the EP’s they’ve released since they started again in 2004, and the albums closes with a fine adaptation of Death’s ‘Infernal Death’. But it’s great to hear they’re back, and hopefully they finally will cross the ocean. Maybe Municipal Waste will help them with a support slot?
For the diehard fans you can watch here a lovely violation of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ in typical Hellwitch style, which is not available on any of the Hellwitch releases.
Now here is a surprise. Florida’s Hellwitch formed in 1984 and managed to get one album out (Syzygial Miscreancy; a Watchtower-in-overdrive gem from 1990) and a bunch of EPs before vanishing into obscurity just before the millennium. This comeback is a truly invigorating, fast-as-hell pileup of technical thrash and energetic death metal. Even if this doesn’t go down as a classic, there are more deranged riffgoblins here than you could chase down in a fowl-legged Russian witch house.
If we compare it to its predecessor, there are some fortuitous developments, which will have improved the band for all but the most perverse obscurantists. Whilst that one went all out to dazzle with its speed and widdliness, like Eddie Van Halen guesting with Mekong Delta, Omnipotent Convocation takes a leap both forwards and backwards to a timelessly primitive age, drafting in a hefty early Death influence. (This is evidenced by their choice of cover version: Infernal Death). Having said that, the influence was always there; it’s just that this one’s immeasurably superior production really rams home the band’s harsh, bludgeoning sound whilst also managing to sound as if the recording equipment was in the same country as the Hellwitch themselves. The latter in particular is a real bonus.
So let us pick through some of this album’s highlights. Hell, there are tracks here Witch leave you genuinely awed. Slought to Beguile is built around a preposterously energetic, devilish thrash riff, which sounds like Holy Moses circa 1987 after a twenty-two year session at the gym. It takes on the form of mechanized, pounding melodeath (like Hypocrisy eating barbed wire) and emerges as joyous thrash again like a booze-soaked Alien from out of its ribcage. Opiatic Luminance has a cackling, undulating groove, like a heavily industrialised reworking of some jabbering folk metal (perhaps !T.O.O.H! is a comparison here), which is crossed with dense death metal and jackhammer soloing that interacts contortedly with its rhythm section like Kirk Hammet does on Metallica’s One. The unison wizardry of Final Approach, with a hellish, rattling energy, reminds me of Melechesh’s Apkallu Counsel. For those who’ve heard that song (one of my top ten metal tracks of the decade), you’ll realise what a compliment that is. And if you haven’t… do it now! Then come back to read more about Hellwitch. If not, fine, I’m nearly finished anyway.
I’m not sure what anyone else could want from a metal record. The solos are screeching, the riffs are monumental technical death-thrash. The vocals sometimes take on hysterical falsetto shapes like Vio-Lence, sometimes gibbering black metal gurns. It is brimming with ideas. Damn, this is great.
Hellwitch is something of a legend in the Florida death metal scene. The band formed 25 years ago, released a slew of demos, EPs, and a single full-length (Syzygial Miscreancy) before disbanding. They reformed a few years ago and now return to the spotlight with their sophomore album Omnipotent Convocation, a smattering of intensely fast thrashing death metal which operates in the rarely visited territory that channels the speed and malevolence of peers Morbid Angel, the prowess of Atheist and the vicious sneering abandon of Sadus.
This band is crazy. Fast. And mean. Lyrically they tackle grandiose subjects both ancient and futuristic, a macrocosm of dark philosophical spite that might appeal to fans of the Mythos (akin to Morbid Angel), but is not limited to just that. If there were any doubts as to whether the band could pull off their lightning pace and aggression, they are quickly quelled by the opening tumult of "Neolothic Journey". Yes, this band is back, and you can forget about the past, since this album dominates all their past work within a few tracks. "Mysteria" thrusts full force forward with insane winding guitar licks and Patrick Ranieri's caustic vocal style which is highly charismatic in a 'daemon from an alternate reality that wants to EAT you' fashion. Fans of bands like Atheist, Sadus and the obscure Terrahsphere will be prepared for this, the rest of you will not. The band continues to wallop you with death race after death race, standout speedsters include "Irreverent Salvation", "Vicious Avidity" and the head spinning "Opiatic Luminance" with a little dash of Voivod in there. The band rarely brakes for anything, but even when they do, they still offer some interesting and wild progressive/tech death riffing (i.e. "Mythologicalies").
Omnipotent Convocation has a crispy tone of it that demonstrates well the constant flurries of guitars. Ranieri's snarl rides the top like an infernal charioteer. The drums and bass are likewise at the top of the game, and fans of technical death bands (Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Nile, etc) will become quickly obsessed with miming the band's myriad of hooks. For all the strenghts of the album, I did not find most of the riffs to be memorable beyond a 'holy shit' reaction. But it's still a great listen, especially when you have the stamina and wherewithall to take it all in at once, and more than comp
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