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Raw, intense and global - 84%

Felix 1666, July 1st, 2014
Written based on this version: 2013, CD, High Roller Records

After the slightly disappointing "Demons", Witchburner vigorously enter the stage again. What is more, they also appear in a new light. This is due not least to an important line-up change. The former vocalist Andy was a likeable and credible front man and his nagging always sounded well. Nevertheless, he left (or had to leave?) the band and was replaced by Pino Hecker whose raw and rasping voice raises Witchburner to a higher level. It sounds more powerful so that his voice and the music work really well together. Pino shows no signs of weakness during the entire full-length. Thankfully, the same can be said of his band colleagues.

It follows from this that Witchburner create a storm of intensive thrash metal which is gold plated with an excellent and pressureful production. There is no doubt that all albums of their extensive back catalogue would have been much more impressive with a production of comparable quality. The guitars sound crystal clear and forceful while the tight and precise drumming tries to make mincemeat of us. So one could say that they leave the somewhat limited German thrash metal level and deliver a truly global performance. This is expressed most clearly by the very intense solos. Most of them are just brilliant and we should reserve a place for them if Slayer would decide to release "Reign in Blood Part II". (This would be, by the way, a very good decision. And I would also welcome "Hell Awaits Part II".) If you do not have much time, I recommend to listen to the tornado-like solo part of "Apocalyptic Visions". But of course it is considerably better to enjoy the whole fantastic song. It energizes you immediately not only because of its punchy chorus. Fortunately, nearly each and every song reaches the same level. Outstanding examples for their high quality thrash are the title track with its razor-sharp riffing and "Sermon of Profanity". The latter opens the album with an acoustic intro that is being replaced by violent riffs which set the direction for the following songs. And I may not forget to mention the uncompromising and straightforward "Possession" and "Path of the Sinner". Both tunes are as swift as an arrow and take no prisoners.

Even though I have referred to Slayer´s masterpieces, this album does not spread the message of the eighties. Due to its contemporary production, it does not take you on a time travel through the history of thrash metal. I think it is exactly the other way around, because it uncompromisingly orients itself to the extreme metal scene of today and it proves to be absolutely competitive without denying the roots. Maybe one can say that they excessively reduced the previous black metal elements. The only remaining link to this scene is Pino´s voice. But I have no reason to complain as long as they keep on delivering such an explosive and restless type of thrash which is free of external influences. Additionally, it must be borne in mind that "Bloodthirsty Eyes" constitutes already the seventh full-length of Witchburner. Perhaps I just do not know the right bands, but honestly said I can hardly name bands that still unleash their fury at such advanced stage of their career. Most of the old heroes of the eighties just got grey-haired. But in relation to these ambitious German guys, maybe the best is yet to come. Whatever will happen, this album remains a milestone in the glorious history of German thrash and it seems that it cannot be ruled out that these straightforward boys still have a few aces up their sleeves.