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I'm not sure what all the fuss is about here, exactly; Black Witchery seems late to the game with stuff like this. '05? Wasn't everyone bored with this style by 2000? This isn't to say it isn't a capable execution of this style of chaotic black metal (though I'm still unsure as to what 'capable' means in this context), but it isn't really anything awe-inspiring or even new for its time period. Plenty of bands have been doing this style of noisy, primitive, entropic extreme metal basically since 'Deathcrush' hit shelves, and it's not as though there aren't plenty of bands out there churning tapes out in this style across the world- I think Black Witchery just got to Osmose first.
This is squarely in that Blasphemy/Revenge/Conqueror/whoever else form of black metal: more emphasis on a feeling than riffs and melodies. Black Witchery seems to try to spice it up with murky ambiance complete with distorted, bassy synths and grumbled, ritualistic vocals, but that seems to be more a distraction than anything, or a way to pad out the running time of the album- they're not really gripping since they sound like the same stuff I have a hundred CDrs of from kids in basements across the globe. What's a little more interesting is when you pick the riffs out, which contrary to popular belief are more distinct in the production than people give them credit for as they occupy a pretty different space in the production than the drums; they're like normal black metal riffs played just a little bit off, with short, looping, basically random melodies that are more reminiscent of grindcore than black metal. The guitar tone sucks, but whatever, at least the results are the most interesting thing about this album.
I guess this is primitive, but I think that gives the band a little too much credit since I associate that term with music that has a bit more of a coherent vision and direction than this. This is more 'simple'- songs are composed of just a few riffs each that alternate in simple patterns ala 'Transilvanian Hunger' over a bed of noisy blast beats and ranting vocals. The primitivity of this album seems a bit too calculated to be genuine- the guitarist was in Burning Inside, for christ's sake- and overall I get the sense that this music was crafted with a particular target audience in mind. Black Witchery knows who they're playing too and have been a bit too careful to drape their music in all the trappings of the Nuclear War Now! crowd. Yeah, it's chaotic and noisy, but Black Witchery know that and crafted their music in such a way- it wasn't arrived at out of coincidence or happenstance.
The major pitfall of this album is that the music simply isn't that interesting. Yeah, it's noisy and chaotic, but I'm familiar with that and Black Witchery isn't doing much more than that on this release. The band doesn't add anything to the formula of being noisy and chaotic; it's rather mechanical in this regard and the band doesn't really attempt to surprise the listener or keep them guessing. Can it really be that chaotic when the music is so predicable? While I admire music with an aesthetic like this, Black Witchery are just doing something already established by other bands rather than blazing new trails. I have a feeling that for most of the people who revere this album, this was the first release of this style they heard; a few years and a few hundred albums of this same stuff later, it doesn't seem nearly as impressive.
Oh well. I don't think I'm losing anything by not really 'getting' this- as I said, there's only a few hundred other bands playing in this same style with a similar ethos. Black Witchery don't really do anything wrong, but what they do is more established and refined than they want you to think, and more importantly, I don't get the sense that a ton of effort went into the construction of anything on this release; I wouldn't go as far as to call it a cash-in, but everything about this album seems a little too easy and straightforward for music that's supposed to be so hard and confrontational.
Given my liking for extreme black & death metal, plus the fact that I really enjoyed their split album with Conqueror, I really wanted to love this album. Unfortunatley it's one of the more monotonous monuments to brutality that I've heard. Unlike Conqueror and Revenge who shock and impress with their extremity, here Black Witchery merely annoy. Poor production that buries the guitars and reduces the bass tones to repetitive mud doesn't help, but the endless "whack-whack-whack" snare drum driven tempos and dull songs don't help either.
I understand that some are blown away by this record's "extreme" nature, but it fails for me where any music must have some impact: passion and creativity. The band sound bored delivering these odes to blackness and blasphemy, which is never good for music of this sort. Using some dynamics (light & shade, loud & soft contrasts) would help a lot, but Black Witchery might interpret such ideas as diluting their pure nihilistic war metal values. Whatever. Also there is literally no variation between the songs whatsoever. I mean WHATSOEVER. I've tried listening to this album several times to try and find the nuance differences from track to track. I can swear I hear the same or at least very similar riffs being used from song to song to an almost humorous degree. In this sort of metal, variety is not the spice of life and I understand that. But I can't help but feel that a minimum of effort went into this album, at least partially becuase the band knew that as long they hit the correct trappings, their audience would accept the material without reservation. But I maintain that merely being extreme, even in a flavor of the month underground style like this, is never enough. Black Witchery have done better work than this, and I hope they'll do better in the future.
Bands like Angelcorpse, Axis Of Advance and Blasphemy have shown that maximum extremity metal can be done without creating homogenity. It would be cool if Black Witchery would adopt that stance as well.
This is primitive. A now-a-days perception of primitive might be VHS tapes, beepers and dial up connection. Even though there are a few oblivious folks using them still. Your uncle who still wears Brut(e) cologne, nope, even further back. This life style goes back past sword and sorcery and Conan comics to an evolutionary time. Where testosterone was flaring, arguments won over who could kill who, rights to women and a survival sense all fall back on this. The 80s were a breeding ground for this kind of concept. Muscled Schwarzenegger would star as Conan. Gibson and The Road Warrior. Bands like Carnivore would use a concept of a barren World War III; Manowar would fit the dress of a buff Neanderthal. In mainstream music there was an evolution, from just about every band using a snooty solo to state-of-the-art production. Times were moving on. However, there were some bands pushing back with a more primitive brand. Bands like Bathory, which was so underevolutionary, Quorthon might of been revealed as being Big-Foot himself. Hellhammer would lack in technicalness but prove that a brute attitude is what mattered. Bands from all over, that would scream for a saber-toothed tiger to appear right out of thin air. Country varying bands like Venom and Sodom; emerging 90's bands like Blasphemy and Beherit. All with a goal to undermine progressive metal and play loud, sleazy and of course depraved.
Black Witchery finds their way later on with an evil attitude, and a no-rule, except an eye gouging mentality. One might wonder where the merit of such a hate infused and disassociation to practical music might find its dark path. You might think that lab coat technicians strap up heart monitors and scientifically evaluate the band members to see how someone could play so hard, so long and so fast. I can assure you that their album isn't a scientific anomaly, a fluke, but a primitive album that might not get its daily sunshine and eats glass shards and bacon for breakfast. A band that looks like the background ritualists to witchcraft related Hammer horror movies, instead of your forefronting square-jawed heroes to come and save the foreboding day.
The recording is pretty minimalistic and effectively achieves this primitive and barbaric feel with intentionally low recording standards to back it up. This has a distant sound and ear-straining qualities that would make someone grab ahold of their own head and defensively quiver. There is hiss, possibly no EQ and effects galore. This, I can imagine, is purposely done to make the mood more tangible to your ears. A corporeal atmosphere that could have essentially been lost with distinctiveness and sterile environments. Taking off the surgical gloves and getting yourself covered from fingertip to elbow in impure filth.
The drums are a little stifled compared to the last, with enough effects on them to obscure their presence into the background. His snare is a little meshed and doesn't protrude. The hi-hat sounds like it has a combination of echo or delay and reverb attached. This causes it to have a spacy feel, caught with a blurry, you-can't-seem-focus aspect. The guitars are edgier and have an inherently more violent sound quality compared to the previous full length. They still play in a simplistic, primitive fashion. However, he seems to play less elongated notes, with faster in-between time, which I think made them have a new form anxiousness and apprehension. Like they are leading and leading into uncharted domains: a black place devoid of sun and joy, where instead demons frolic and flap their fleshy, far-reaching wings, and fiends lollygag with festering boils and lick blood-stained, feral chops. The vocals run overtop and are a throaty scream/yelled projection of hate, despisal, and over-the-top enough to become a mind-inducing insanity. He adds seething vocalizations that any practical headed yuppie might take a clear distancing for agitation and unnecessary turmoil. They aren't just screamed or yelled at any given place, yet he seems to find and locate the riffs and for the most part stays on time. Which makes a faster oriented release still head-bangable in this regard, along with an abundance of explosive cymbal fills to aid as well.
Upheaval is a continuation of their first full length: an album that adds trancing qualities through repetition, and a tone of wicked chaos. While I'm not a stickler for continuously fast, barbaric black metal, I don't think B.W. are genre-ditto either. The atmosphere they project is more important than what you hear as primal instrumentation. It's sort of like a violent horror movie: it takes the right amount of fear, the right amount of blood, not whether it is physically possible or expertly executed. The bumps are what make it what it is, at least in this band's case; seeing them live and the appropriate spacing between releases helps too. The recordings here include an even harsher production, with even granular music that gives states of uneasiness, worry, alarm, distress and any other related words found in an Unholy Thesaurus; the kind that is filled with un-, non-, dis-, ill-, proper demonology, serial killerology, and even adjectival names of your favorite musicians that have traveled over to the darkside. Black Witchery canvases evil-gravitating words for their second full length, and a combination of music to level, absorb and devour your sense of will and replace it with a hollow shell.
When I first listened to this album I thought that it was pretty awesome, so naturally I continued to listen to it, but after the first listen something odd began to happen. I realized upon giving it another listen that I did not enjoy it as much as I did the first time, it was still good but not nearly as good as my first impression would have suggested. After this I listened to it three more times over the course of two days, and the album got progressively worse with every listen. By the end it was so bad that I couldn't even make it all the way through the album, this is particularly bad considering the album is under 30 minutes long. Now with that said this album isn't completely terrible, it does have some slightly redeeming qualities. The only problem is that the good qualities get completely crushed by the bad qualities, and that's not a figure of speech, the bad parts of this album literally smother the good ones.
So there are a lot of reasons why this sucks, and they all revolve around the drums. The drums are completely awful and they throw the whole album off track. The drum work consists almost entirely blast beats. It is hard to find one point in this album where the drums aren't constantly blasting away. Now a lot of black metal bands use a whole shitload of blast beats but at least they mix it up from time to time, unlike these guys who apparently have never heard of the concept of variation, or heard about it one time but promptly dismissed it within a few minutes. As one can imagine this gets very annoying as the album goes on. Not only is the drumming completely worthless it is way too high in the mix, and it drowns out (or crushes) the otherwise good guitar riffs.
The other really big problem with this album is that all the songs sound relatively the same. The drumming always sounds almost exactly the same. There is never a really excellent passage of a song that catches the listener’s ear. The guitar riffs are really the only element of the songs that noticeably change from song to song, but they're so fucking hard to hear because of the bad production. All this comes together and make this one boring, same-sounding, wreck of an album.
So this album does contain a few good qualities. Ignoring the fact that they are pretty hard to make out the guitar riffs are very good. They are sloppy black metal riffs with a well defined thrash element in them. They're usually quite simple but they work well. Nothing bad can be said about the vocals either. They are a little deeper than typical black metal vocals, and they sound good. The Blasphemy cover at the end is played very well, but all it really does is remind you how much better a band Blasphemy is than these guys.
This album should serve as an example of how not to use blast beats. Every aspiring black metal musician should own a copy of this; simply to remind themselves that blast beats can work for you but when overused they can just as easily work against you. It really is too bad that the drumming is so bad because the riff work shows some real potential.
Black Witchery's Upheaval of Satanic Might is possibly the most ferocious, abrasive album they have done up to this point and that says a lot for a band as extreme as them.
The riffs are primitive, violent powerchord progressions similar to Celtic Frost, but backed up by drumming at twice or sometimes even three times the speed. Check out the overwhelming minute-and-a-half onslaughts of songs like "Profane Savagery" and "Scorned and Crucified" and you'll hear what I mean. The guitar tone, of course, is thick and wretched. The song structures are simple and effective with the short riff phrases being repeated to such an extent in the two to four minute song lengths that it gives the entire album a captivating intensity that may have been ruined if the band had attempted something different only for variety's sake.
"Heretic Death Call" is a song that charges forth with such fury that it becomes an impenetrable wall of noise before a short unaccompanied riff allows you behind the barrier. Then the band blast off again at an inexplicable pace even faster than before; totally annihilating your sense of sanity. This fast-to-faster technique is a defining example of the sheer brutality that Black Witchery have summoned on this album and it is used in several of the songs on here. The few solos on this CD sound like simple trills that complement the bestial nature of the songs. Also, they are buried so deep in the mix that they intermittently sound like a squealing pig and a lowing cow depending on the guitarist's finger positioning on the fretboard. The drumming is a relentless bashing that may leave many listeners with shellshock after the CD stops spinning.
In spite of the powerful and diabolical force of the music, however, there are a few flaws. While the vocals are an inhuman rasp that don't lack for conviction, the phrasing is similar for nearly every song. The cover of Blasphemy's "Ritual" is fun, but unnecessary. Nothing against Blasphemy, but another Black Witchery song would have been a better way to use three extra minutes at the end of the CD. The band's image may be frightening to impressionable children, religious fanatics and some pro wrestlers, but to most everyone else Black Witchery look ready for another awesome Halloween! The cover art plays on countless old-school black/death/thrash cliches and is somewhat laughable.
These faults aside, very few bands can stand against or even beside Black Witchery when it comes to black fucking metal. The production is harsh even by extreme metal standards, but one gets accustomed to it as the album progresses. The performance, or maybe "ritual" is a better word, makes no pretentions at overwrought musicianship. Black Witchery are a band who simply want to devastate and desecrate everything in their path and they accomplish this on Upheaval of Satanic Might.
US black metalers Black Witchery identify themselves with a self-conscious musical aesthetic that defines itself by simple speed and brutality. On their second full-length blasphemous crash fest this Florida trio set out with a (seemingly) conscious effort to outdo most, or more preferably all, other black metal bands similarly vying for titles as the most brutal or most raw. Those two credos sum up this release well- raw and brutal.
Embracing the formula that espouses extremism as a goal rather than a means or natural consequence, Black Witchery employ the proven practice of breaking down structures and progressions into fast, grinding, minimalist riffs under a waterfall of blastbeats. Cyclic grinding quasi-melodies live out their short durations through any number of repetitions, rhythmically offsetting themselves against one another to provide some sense of movement in the brief 1-3 minute lightning-bolt grind fests that make up this record. Production? Audible, but appropriately muddy and distorted (of course).
If this record aims to be regarded as particularly fast and raw among its black metal peers, it certainly achieves that. A blazing 26-minute maelstrom of ripping sludge riffs and tirelessly pounding blastbeats awaits the brave listener who tests these waters. Whether or not this band has anything to say artistically is another matter entirely; this record shows nothing that hasn't already been done and ends up saying little in the grand scheme of things. Still, for those who appreciate extremity as a self-justifying concept, this record will undoubtedly please. Divine spiritual revelation? Nope, but some berserk metal will do just fine.
Similar to: Anaal Nathrakh, Arkhon Infaustus, Antaeus
Understand that one day, the impossible will occur. Understand that if all things are possible, then all things must be inevitable. If you believe the most horrific things that could have happened, have occurred before or during your critically insignificant life, then you have never heard a band as unfathomably ferocious as Black Witchery.
It could come to pass, that an album titled ‘Upheaval of Satanic Might,’ could seize the imaginations of not just hundreds but Billions of people. Whether this was their choice is wholly and uncompromisingly irrelevant. As the result of a fraction of a blind second, one weak moment of helpless suggestibility, entire days enslaved in the soporific waltz of self gratification, a darkness will descend upon mankind and it will be rent asunder at the hysterical mass realization of the potential of aeons of futile humans stretching towards nothing, scratching around the blasted dusts, milk-eyed and mute.
This is the legacy of Black Witchery.
The air vibrated around me carrying on it an unearthly lowing, terrifying in a very physical way that rendered me inert, suppliant to the relentless pounding of Drums (Vaz), not individually discernable beats, but a violently mashed a battery assault, unforgiving yet horrifyingly human. The ripping buzz-saw Guitars (Tregenda) shear away at your ears, chewing into the depths of your skull, probing, raking the insides raw, holding it dead still, prone sacrifice to the cruel predatory maw of the Bass - a yawning void of shifting souls, moaning their wretched guts into the depths of a dense,swirling abyss, driven sadistically by the same unholy beast that shrieks layers of ungodly blasphemations, incantations and tortured guttural invocations. This is Impurath, hound to Satan’s leash and the unyielding force of nature behind this wall of noise.
For a force of nature this album truly is. Spellbinding, leaving you in raptures. That there is a tangibly human element to ‘Upheaval of Satanic Might’ is the most disturbing aspect. Once you are able to discern the nagging cyclical riffs, hypnotic sub-bass-lines and what little dispensation to rhythm there is in the drums, from the sheets and sheets of distortion, omnipresent vibration and stabbing screeches, the awful truth becomes apparent. There is a cold, calculating method to this madness that grooves and rocks its way into your body, entrances it and makes it want to shake. When a song is named ‘Hellstorm Of Evil Vengeance’ and delivers - everything it has straight into your face – on a level of physical musical communication that remains as a hook in your head pulling at it, scouring the memory of it deeper into you as it plays out it’s short cursed 2.35 lifespan, you begin to question and reject the meagre limitations of the rest of your beloved ‘music’. The same music you are pleading to for salvation from the horrific onslaught you are half willingly, half powerlessly, subjecting yourself to.
If you’re looking for musical coordinates to make a clearer picture, forget it. They haven’t drilled that deep into the Earth to bring back those kinds of wretched sounds, despite the rumors. Except that is, for this one 30 minute holocaust. This is not simply Black Metal, nor Industrial Noise, I imply that this is much more than the sum of its parts, and they amount to something much bigger than You, I, and probably Black Witchery can hope to comprehend or command.
Prior to reading anymore than this paragraph I want you fine listeners to follow these instructions. Go to the local butcher store and buy yourself a nice one inch thick porterhouse steak with tasty fat marbling. Return home and unwrap your fine slab of crimson protein. Take the steak in your bare hand, return to the computer, and go to www.metal-archives.com where you will once again find this review.
Alright eager steak wielding listeners take a big bite of that cold bloody raw steak and begin reading the rest of this review. With each bite and chew of that slab of dead cow you should have the sensation for how raw, icy, and grim Black Witchery’ “Upheaval of Satanic Might” disc sounds. Each gnaw of your porterhouse should fill you with an understanding of how fucking primitive this recording is in sound quality and atmosphere. This is the type of music Ted Bundy would have played as he returned to the site of a corpse he had previously raped and murdered with the intention of getting in some newfound necrophilia love.
Never mind the fact that Black Witchery are basically a Blasphemy worship act. Forget any notions of clean Dimmu Bogus production with symphony and melody. No, this shit is straight out Satanic ball tonguing fury with horrible production. The bass is non-existent, and the guitars are a drone of riffage. The drums are more murky than a swamp with snare, cymbal, and maybe bass drum present in a noxious unrelenting blasting affair. The vocals are at the forefront making everything else sound like background music. Imagine standing with your back facing a propeller driven C-130 while shrieking “Satan is good, Satan is King, I love Satan, Satan can ass fuck my ole lady,” and that is exactly how this disc sounds. Hahahaha, well maybe the lyrics are a little different but does it matter? Still, what you got here is a fusion of Black Metal and Grindcore of Satanic proportions.
I read a couple reviews where the tears about the “poor production” on “Upheaval of Satanic Might” almost caused my computer to short out. See, them same cry girls whimper about everything, and if the music is good they find a reason to be negative. They are little techno-nerds who can play instruments, but they do it without passion or zeal, which is why they don’t have a band themselves. Hell, even if they have a band they suck cause they overanalyze the sound and their play. Then when they do get to “jamming” the music is devoid of emotion. Hahahaha, and those same idiots that bitch about this albums sound or call it cult are idiots too… How the fuck can it be cult when everyone knows about the recording?
The only negative to this album is its length. It has 9 songs and 1 hidden track that is a cover of the Blasphemy’ song Ritual. As a whole the album is 29:36 long and if you subtract the Blasphemy cover it is about 26:00 minutes long. My point is that they could have at least made the damned thing in the 35 minute range especially for the reason that the music is rather simplistic. Still, whether it is called Black Metal, Noisecore, or Black Grindcore the fact is this album is made to offend and that is why I get off on it. I like it as an accompaniment for pernicious sex, hard drugs, and animal slaughtering. Even the artwork of Chris Moyen is awesome and the drawing of the nude hottie that has been sacrificed on an alter always stirs my eager cock to life.
Rabid reader I want you to finish up that porterhouse, let the gore dry on your chin, and order this CD. In the meantime you can make earrings out of the steak bone and read up on Satanic rituals cause even if you are smart enough to be atheist your gonna feel like burning a Christian once you hear this disc.
Goddamn, this is horrible!
Black Witchery have to be the most overrated, piece of shit band in existance today. Their lyrics are childish, their image retarded, and their music, if you can even call it music, downright pathetic. When I first heard the debut album, I liked it, and still do somewhat to this day. It had some thrasy parts mixed in, which added a little variety to the otherwise monotonous blasting. This however just fuckin sucks!
This album is just song after song of endless blasts(literally), monotonous, under produced guitar, and horrible, uninspired vocals. There is no bass to be found anywhere. You can't hear any riffs being played because of those goddamned drums, which dominate every song. There are no breaks in between all the blasting, and this release is just a fuckin stupid joke.
I usually don't mind endless blasts, ala Marduk and Dark Funeral, but this is just so horrible that nothing matters, there are no redeeming qualities to be found anywhere on this hunk of shit. The reason I gave it a 10 is because of the Blapshemy cover, which is the only break from all the senseless noise. People often compare this band to Blasphemy, Sarcofago, and Beherit. There is a huge difference there. Those bands were good, and Black Witchery is not.
If you've ever read their interviews, you will know how stupid they are. I advise everyone to avoid this piece of shit AT ALL COSTS!
Finally the comparisons to Blasphemy are justified. ‘Upheaval Of Satanic Might’, Black Witchery’s second full-length, is more chaotic than their previous releases, and is clearly the product of a band with absolutely no restraint.
Those who have already heard Black Witchery will know roughly what to expect from this album. If you’re new to the group, then imagine the primitive violence of VON mixed with the intensity of Revenge, and, on this release, more than a hint of chaos, a la Blasphemy.
The album starts with a couple of minutes of dark ambience and throaty screams before launching into a violent hyper-blast that only lets up during the intro to the title track, before blasting off again until the end of the album.
The production is raw and nasty, and leaves a lot of the guitar riffs indistinguishable from one another. This will put some people off, but Black Witchery have always given us audio-violence over substance.
The only track that disappointed me was the Blasphemy cover at the end of the album. It sticks out like a sore thumb, and doesn’t come close to matching the original. This minor flaw aside, however, Black Witchery prove once again that they’re up there with the best.
Well, since Blasphemy is once again defunct due to drugs and infighting, it’s good to have a band like Black Witchery around. These guys are to Blasphemy what Scepter are to early Celtic Frost/Hellhammer: ostensibly a shameless tribute band, but with enough identity to make them enjoyable in their own right. The new album doesn’t seem to be aimed at gaining new fans, but rather solidifying their current fanbase. So, we get nine songs of goatcrushing Satanic blastfuckery with absolutely no lame attempts to inject melody or any similar form of gayness into the mix. Good on ‘em, I say.
As expected, the production is terrible. Guitars and bass are a fuzzed-out grating mess, although much clearer than, say, Revenge or Bestial Warlust. The drums, meanwhile, are simply a constant pounding blast, with only the snare and cymbals gaining any prominence in the mix. There’s a bass-drum in there somewhere, but it’s buried under a ton of dirt and corpses. Vocals are the most prominent element here, being an intermittent harsh rasp which mostly sticks to the lower register, often reminding me of Martin Van Drunen’s exhortations on Asphyx’s early output, but more atavistic in nature.
As it stands, Black Witchery is even more primitive than Blasphemy. The thrash influence of the original is entirely nonexistent, leaving the blackened deathgrind sound to completely dominate. This is what Repulsion would sound like if they were devil worshippers instead of sick horror freaks. Of course, no BW disc is complete without a Blasphemy cover, this one including an unlisted take on “Ritual”, which makes both the influence and difference even more glaringly obvious. Other highlights include the short, intense “Profane Savagery” which aptly lives up to it’s title, and the utter unleashed violence of the blistering title track, which is an utterly disgusting exercise in sheer abusiveness.
If you’re looking for well-produced, technical death metal stay as far away from this band as possible. On the other hand, if you want to be violated by a raw, furious onslaught of Satanic filth, trip over your tail in the rush to obtain it. I guess I should also mention the unmistakably awesome artwork provided by Chris Moyen, especially the sick interior artwork – boobs and blades, can’t go wrong.
Originally written for http://www.diabolicalconquest.com