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I Am The Torchbearer Of The Light Of The Devil! - 92%

CHAIRTHROWER, December 5th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Skol Records

Not to be mistaken for Witchfinder General's widely diverging Friends of Hell sophomore from 1983 is Demon Bitch's oddly syntax-ed but appaling-ly great full-length debut, 2016's seven-tracked Hellfriends, so bitingly caustic and evilly twisted as it is - not to mention fiercely melodic, whence its numerous salvos of super-charged and demented guitar riffs/solos careen back & forth betwixt a rabid pair of spaz-ed out ax villains who display an utter, albeit most welcome, lack of respect for conventional wisdom or, for that matter, ever-lovin' restraint!

Thus, Demon Bitch represents the heavy metal equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting; at first glance/listen, it overwhelms incredulous, unbelieving senses which struggle to gain a foothold, or idea, rather, of what in hellish blazes is going on! Following a laborious nimiety of viewings/spins, however, such stark, raving madness gradually creeps to light. In a decidedly archaic sense, this constitutes its own infernal reward. Combine such precipitous, off-the-wall musical antics with a forlorn thematic template favoring hand-in-hand skulduggery akin to "evil, outer-space and The Unknown", and what you reap is a highly voluble canvas burdened with a jeweler's precision for detail (however random-seeming and/or erratic).

Seriously, it takes seven to eleven listens or so to get a handle (or grip) on this oft diabolic and stratospheric-ally sky-high, nefarious venture, released on CD under Poland's Skol records (woolly provider of cryptic thrashers such as Phantom Lord, Robespierre, Satan's Host and Sabbat), alongside a sordid swath of taped/analog versions, courtesy of High Roller and Michigan's own Dystopian Dogs. If anything, the maniacal and slapdash "front troubadour", Logon Saton, nebulously embodies the arcane quartet's Grinch-y and pummeling "esprit de corps" with this brash, invigorating quip pried from the super mercurial, razor sharp lambast-er aka "Hellfriends" proper:

"There are no words, just rock n' roll
Keeping me stranger, and keeping me loud!"

Dutifully espousing such crushing, frenzied sentiment is the psychotic and rife, rapid-fire mind crippler of an opener, "Warning From The Skies", and, as inferred above, it's apparent the group derives much of its crazed energy from a penchant for classically expedient overtures; in particular, circuitously complex riff foundations jarringly intersected by shrapnel-like, speedster solos which splatter all over the listener's addled brain-pan like so many cob-webbing cracks left in a shabbily "porcelain-whipped" vehicular side panel (um, let's keep this on the down-low, shall we?).

Hence, it's a Hell of a challenge to take everything in the first time out - lest you're a musical prodigy and/or regular rabbit/meth-hole explorer, but I (sanely) digress. In any case, the urgent, not to mention gripping, fret-board virtuosity permeating its swift but no less compendious thirty-six minutes works towards creating a once-in-a-blue-moon production denser than a pulsar steadily spinning on its axis.

The lone exceptions to this rule consist of the dark and mellifluous opening bars to closer "The Microdome", as well as early placid reprieve in the form of "A Passage to the Other Side", an acoustic instrumental turned Gothic lullaby at the behest of my personal faves; namely, the Paleolithic face smasher, "Beneath The Ice Caves", and its ever-squalid neighbor, said colorfully malevolent title track.

Essentially, these lasts invoke ultimate high points, beginning with the former's gnarly, chomping crunch fest/bridge riff (just under a minute in) which vividly recalls a Brothers Grimm tot munching ogre or witch - Ha! I quite merrily lost my marbles upon first, primeval encounter - whilst the latter readily makes my (blackened) blood boil thanks to its befuddling array of gruff, slip-sliding legerdemain over a hat flicking drum prattle which soon gives way to a raging bonanza of classically inspired, unholy leads. Oh, keep your ear(s) to the ground as well for the guitars' wickedly bluesy and liberating stop & go honks sneaking by at precisely 02:19...it's killer, mates, just killer!

While yesteryear's Mercyful Fate and today's Portrait or RAM make lugubriously conducive, eerie bedfellows to Demon B.'s merciless, zany onslaught of stiletto pierced cries and assorted haywire shenanigans, the sole band/album I recall which comes anywhere near such barbed be-devilry is this year's full-length debut by Norway's Black Viper, Hellions Of Fire...yet even then, it's like comparing yams and potatoes, as opposed to markedly differing apples and oranges.

So then, what's the foregone conclusion regarding Hellfriends, as I longingly scan the fiery horizon - for a repeater, of course - from the vantage point of my gloomy and squat, estrogen-deprived man cave?

Comprising what I fondly refer to as the "DMCT" i.e. Detroit Metal City Triptych alongside the kingly Borrowed Time and wily Wülfhook, Demon Bitch is simply one of those singularly skilled, if not outrageously eccentric, bands any die-hard metal heads worth their salt (and pepper) faithfully need to take an unabridged gander at. On this raw, seasoned note, rest assured D-Bitch ain't no gimmick; to this I forcibly yawp: "HFF!", as in "Hellfriendz forever!".

"Can you feel their presence in the blueness of it all?
The essence of the entities rattle the walls,
And you can't get it out of your head
And the deeper you travel, the darker you feel
As you're wringing your hands in the absence of steel
And you're cowering back in fear,
When death comes nipping at your heels!"