Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Witchburner - German Thrashing War EP (2002)

Despite their general lack of contributing anything new to the genre of black/thrash, Witchburner have kept themselves busy in their adoration of the past, releasing a good number of splits outside of their full-length studio albums. They also released a pair of EPs in the early 21st century that bridged the years between Incarnation of Evil and Final Detonation, and German Thrashing War is the first of these, clocking in at under 20 minutes that unfortunately peaks quite early with the title track. This is a pretty limited release, and Witchburner certainly engaged in the idea of collector's items in the vein of Japan's Sabbat or Abigail (in fact, they've done a split release with the latter), so there's not a ton of value here if you're not the consummate completist.

The title track itself is a finely produced burst of energy with some solid riffing and incredibly vocals that hearken back to Incarnation of Evil, or more appropriately the early releases of Kreator, Destruction and Sodom, and this is certainly one of the band's better songs career-wide, but the other songs manage only to trail behind. "Only Blood Will Remain" and "Arrival of the Last Storm" are both decent (the latter also being released as a 7" EP single the following year), but "Raped in Ecstasy" wins the silver medal here with its wild vocals and more subtly entertaining guitars. The band have also included a cover of "Witchfinder General" from that band of the same name, dubbing it "Witchburner General". The old school NWOBHM/rock riffs stand as a stark contrast to the faster originals, but they do a bang-up job of mashing it into their own beast thanks to the vocals and great, groovy lead sequence.

German Thrashing War is well produced, even more so than Incarnation of Evil which seemed pretty inconsistent despite its superiority to their older records. The guitars are authentic, honest, and very bright in the mix, and the vocals are carnal and memorable. Unfortunately, the music isn't always the greatest, and apart from "Raped in Ecstasy" and "German Thrashing War" itself I can't think of much reason to spin it, even with the classy choice of covers. But if you're a die hard for the style of black/thrash that Witchburner espouses, enough that you tracked down and purchased all their other albums, then you should give it a listen or two and see if it's worth thinning the wallet.

Verdict: Indifference [6.5/10]

No comments: