Friday, January 28, 2011

Wicca - Splended Deed (1989)

Wicca was yet another of hundreds of bands to enter the thrash olympics in the late 80s, hoping to emulate the success of the bigger bands from both the US and Germany. Their debut, the oddly titled Splended Deed, was a well mixed, energetic affair, offering absolutely nothing new or out of the ordinary, but at least it got by on having a solid array of songs with a firm mix. I'd have to say that the most distinctive element to Wicca was Padde, who had an overbearing, heavily accented tone to his voice that sounded like Angelripper if he was in some sort of gut pain that was forcing him to keel over. I know I use the term 'constipated' a lot to describe vocals, but perhaps a better description here would be something attempting to squeeze large metallic objects through his colon.

Occasionally, this will manifest in something goofy due to the whole English second-language thing, but for the most part, I really enjoy him here, because it adds a lot of character over what are well meaning but fairly average riffs. The band opens this album with a few savage thrusts of warlike, unmemorable thrash in "It's Enough" and "Psychic Warfare", the first galloping along with the frenzy of Destruction, the second using a very Slayer riff in the opening. "I.O.U." continues this trend with a louder bass line in the intro that sounds like a drunken bumblebee, then forcing itself into a forgettable charge. "The End of the Century" sounds like what might occur if Gerre of Tankard were singing over a Metallica outtake from 1986, entertaining but silly (due to the vocals); but "Splended Deed" itself is quite good, with some nice ascending guitar melodies and more of the band's Master of Puppets-like riffing and omnipresent bass. "Mirror Never Dies" also deserves a nod, and "Speed Thrashing Kids", while corny, is an amusing and brief jaunt with a great chorus.

This debut most likely suffered from lack of exposure, otherwise it might have created a few more waves than it did, but it was up against some stiff competition this year and didn't have any real advantage over Sodom's Agent Orange, Sepultura's Beneath the Remains, or any of the other '89 greats. It's since been remastered and released in 2008 through another label, and the band has reformed and released Bloodrush in 2010 which is superior to this. While I can't give Splended Deed the most glowing of recommendations, it is in fact good enough to whet the palette of those seeking meaty thrash with charismatic, European vocals.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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