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Do you like your Thrash to be mixed with the sound of the Florida Death Metal scene from the late 80’s/early 90’s? Do you like your Metal raw, with an in-your-face attitude? Then check out this re-release of Hellwitch’s "Syzygial Miscreancy".
I could just end the review right there, but that would be doing the band and this album an injustice. Hellwitch formed back in 1984 and released several demos before their debut full-length, "Syzygial Miscreancy", was released in 1990. Seeing that the original release was only a little bit over 25 minutes long, this re-release comes with songs from four different demos (sometimes featuring earlier versions of songs from the actual album) added on as an extra bonus.
The overall best song here is "Nosferatu", an extreme blast of heaviness and speed that ranks up with the best of its genre. It is chock full of insane soloing, riffs and tempo-changes, all within three minutes! This song can be found three other times on the album in varying different stages, since it was included on the majority of their demos. It’s interesting to hear how the song evolved but the best version is the one released with the original album. From start to finish, the original "Syzygial Miscreancy" album thrashes, growls and changes speeds in a Thrash/Death fan’s wet dream. The band members are all talented, and even though many of the songs are short, they’re very complex without being close to anything "progressive." This is raw Thrash/Death Metal here, folks.
One complaint would be that the vocals are pretty bad. However, fans of low-budget Black Metal and early Death Metal demos of the mid 80’s might enjoy or at least tolerate them more. Also, even though there were many demos included to inflate the running time, the actual album is just barely under 26 minutes long. The demos may be more of interest to lifelong fans of the band or fans of demos in general, but for the casual fan, most of these aren’t worth more than a couple of listens.
Still, I’m glad I was given the opportunity to review this album, as Hellwitch is one of many bands from the 80’s/90’s that was largely forgotten. Thankfully, now we get the opportunity to hear this album once again. Be on the lookout for a new album from this band, to be released in August or September.
(Originally published for www.metal-temple.com)