Hellwitch "Syzygial Miscreancy" CDPosted on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 @ 9:09am » permalink
Florida's Hellwitch formed in 1984 and recorded demos (plus one 7" single) for six years prior to finally releasing their debut "full-length" (granted it contains just seven tracks in about 26 minutes), "Syzygial Miscreancy", on good ol' Wild Rags Records in 1990. Recently reissued by Displeased Records, the album now comes completely remastered with all of the band's early demos tacked on as a bonus. I'd heard the name Hellwitch many times over the years, but had honestly never actually heard the band until a few weeks ago when MetalHit.com (who's digitally distributing the reissue) hooked me up with the tracks for review. I'll also confess that I looked up "syzygial", 'cause I wasn't even sure it was a word!? (It is.) Apparently these cats were big on the "fancy" language, though, as evidenced by song titles like "Viral Exogence", "Sentient Transmography", "Mordirivial Dissemination", "Pyrophoric Seizure", etc. If I ever encountered this album when I was younger, perhaps the relatively cheesy artwork would've disinterested me at the time, but while I wouldn't classify "Syzygial Miscreancy" as a particularly groundbreaking effort, it is an excellent piece of classic death metal in the early vein, meaning that it's tempered with loads of thrash overtones. The material's aged very well and brings with it a frantic vibe that combines blazing tremolo picking and fast, raw thrash with borderline catchy midpaced crunch alongside blasts of warped, kinda fucked up riffing or chaotic leads. And as opposed to any guttural grunting, the vocals are in that killer style of harsh, strained shouting/screaming that I totally love. A couple of badass little acoustic passages pop up on rare occasion as well. I'm diggin' it. The band released another EP, "Terraasymmetry", and one final demo before calling it quits in the mid-90s, but has (surprisingly) resurfaced in the last few years with a new full-length on the way. I'm always a big fan of underappreciated material like this getting the proper reissue treatment and becoming readily available once again, and this is absolutely worth checking out for fans of this style of old school death/thrash. Good stuff…
This one doesn't seem to have hit iTunes, Amazon.com, or eMusic yet on the digital front, but it should soon. However, you can grab the mp3's straight from MetalHit, or keep the "old school" theme alive with a physical copy of the disc!