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Savagery and Vengeance - 80%

AsPredatorToPrey, July 19th, 2007

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.