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Another Lesson in Barbarism - 80%

Byrgan, November 22nd, 2008

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.