Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nunslaughter/Acid Witch - Spooky EP (2014)

The Spooky split assembles two of Hells Headbangers more distinct and entertaining acts into a union of what I would have assumed to be a contrast of the slower Acid Witch death/doom camp and the more blitzing death/thrash of Nunslaughter. Yet, to my shock, the choices on this EP really seem to complement one another, with the latter putting on the reins for some of their slower, chunkier, and Acid Witch revving up their engines for the closer on the B-side, which places them on an evil motorcycle pacing with the Catholic Church's favorite band. But beyond that, the material both of the band's is spewing forth here is among the best I've heard from them. Nunslaughter is on a tear, granted, their last record Angelic Dread kicking the cathedral doors down and shredding every habit in sight; but I just wasn't feeling the new Acid Witch EP covers EP much (more on that later), so it was a blast to hear that when it comes to their own material, they've certainly still got it.

The Acid Witch tracks are savage, organ-endowed paeans to darkness and damnation with a bit of that ol' tongue-in-cheek nature added in the lyrics and the stoner-Sabbath grooves that occasionally erupt in the rhythm guitars. "Evil" and "Fiends of Old" are mixed a little rough, giving them an airier garage quality, only if that garage was a co-op they were sharing with a serial killer wearing a clown mask and chainsaw in the 70s. The growls and organs in unison sound absolutely fucking amazing, and I hope a lot of this unhinged energy carries through to their next batch of original stuff. On the other hand, Nunslaughter has the tighter, cleaner production punch of the last album, so there is a little bit of disparity, the two bands don't blend so well in the mix alone. It's the style where it works, and "Spooky Tails" is just a slower, doom/thrash bit with a very simple hook and just blood-gorged vocals that reflect a lot of their Teutonic thrash and proto-death metal influences, with maybe even a little bit of a 90s Carcass thing in how the riff grooves. "A Sordid Past" is cast and carved from a similar vein, only with more gusto and triplet chugging.

It's only 12 minutes of music, but it's engaging and fun all the way throughout, nothing wearing its welcome thin and the cover art is just amazing, with that old horror vinyl cover finish and a colorful image that any creepy comic of the 60s or 70s would have been honored to bear. Except lyrics that focus heavily on Midwest death & thrash metal nostalgia, in particular "Fiends of Old" with a few shout outs to other bands. Nunslaughter have a lot of experience on splits, of course, but I believe this is a first for Acid Witch, and they pull out the tops. The songs might not always feature the catchiest riffs in existence, but both of the bands seem on top of their grisly games and constantly remind you what it is about them that you've ever found entertaining. If, in fact, you have. If NOT...well...you are one tough crowd, brothers and sister. Tough crowd.

Verdict: Win [8/10]


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