Thursday, March 10, 2011

Witchburner - Demons (2010)

Demons is the 6th full-length for Germany's Witchburner, one of the longer surviving black/thrash hybrid bands out there, whether or not they've made much of a dent in their time. It does not deviate whatsoever from what the band have released in the decade leading up to it, with a fast, barbaric sound very similar to the Swedish Witchery (before they let themselves go), though the Germans had a jump on them by about a half-decade. The muffled growls remind me somewhat of Toxiene's vox on the first two Witchery CDs, and the blazing riffs channel all manner of old Teutonic thrash influences, in addition to the prototype black thrash metal of Bathory, Possessed, Slayer and so forth.

Thankfully, Demons has a leg up on both Final Detonation and Blood of Witches. Though it's style is identical, they've put just that much more effort into the writing, and the riffs here often reek of fresh carrion. which the avid fan of this sub-genre will devour like a rabid hellhound. "Break the Skulls", "Raise the Blade", "Seeds of Evil" all have more intricate riffs than what I'm used to from the band; rather than just roll out chords in bland patterns, they use crisp and catchy notations that really thrust the album forward with a glory reminiscent of the early, charging Kreator and Sodom records. The album slows down only rarely, for "Dynasty of Fear" and the opening sequences of the generally mid-paced "Beheaded by the Axe", but it creates just enough dynamic recoil from the speedsters that it flows altogether well.

Witchburner still has a few shortcomings, namely the general dearth of mindblowing riffs and leads, and the inability to come up with the great chorus hooks of their influences, but they've done a fair enough job to keep someone interested. Outside of Incarnation of Evil, this is probably their best album to date, but there is a ways to go before the German band can compete with the far more potent Scandinavian forces like Aura Noir, Bewitched, and so forth, or even their countrymen Nocturnal, who perform a similar style with better writing. That said, if you believe a bullet belt is a formal accessory for any occasion, then you'll proudly burst this record through your speakers until the poseurs are lit aflame.

Verdict: Win [7/10]

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