Sunday, August 2, 2015

Label Spotlight: Witching Hour Productions

Polish label Witching Hour Productions have now set up shop on Bandcamp. Their bread and butter is Polish death metal of recent vintage (but die-hard fans of Behemoth and Vadar can find releases of early demos and albums). Of course when it comes to death metal who better to separate the wheat from the chaff than the mighty Autothrall? So without further ado: enjoy his excavation of three massive chunks of death metals from the bowels of the Witching Hour Bandcamp.

Cover art by Zbigniew Bielak

Try and envision a world in which Deicide wrote much better music than they normally do, and incorporated Polish strength blasting and a bit more flashy, thrashing aggression in addition to splitting the layered vocals down to just growls and snarls (and usually not at the same time). This is a world Azarath not only have envisioned, but have manifest into reality for 13 years and five full-lengths, the latest of which is Blasphemers' Maledictions, a brutal execution of dead center production values and rampant, neck snapping anger which leaves but the chalk outlines of corpses in its wake. This would be enough as is, for most folks, and yet they've also seen fit to pen riffs that are actually worth a damn. (read the rest of the review here).

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Artwork by MichaƂ "Xaay" Loranc

"White Architect" builds a nice intro atmosphere that instantly gives you hope that you're about to hear more than the average death record, and "Cortex Defamation" cashes in the check, with tyrannical walls of thick bludgeoning rhythms that instantly get the anger level high and the blood flowing through the limbs that then flail about like an induced seizure. Yet, amidst the crawling, battering of the guitars there are nice little touches of distorted backup vocals, and the leads after 3:00 are fantastic. "A Dying World" charges gloriously across some broiling guitar melodies and spastic bass fills before breaking down into a thick series of shifting, crunchy tempos, and "War Machine" is simply a ridiculous, fucking brutal piece which removed at least three of my vertebrae as I was listening and unable to stop from jerking around the booth, flighty arpeggios complementing Chudy's blunt chorus vocals. And from this just gets SICKER. (read the rest of the review here).

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Cover art by Mentalporn

Next to Vader's Necropolis (which is a lot more barebones than this album), it's the best Polish death of 2009, easily obliterating the latest Behemoth for that honor. "Revival" opens with a lush cosmic ambience, with a throbbing bass that helps emotionally ascend into a destructive arsenal of storming riffs as the heavens tear asunder. This album is like the Galactus of death metal. Jacek Grecki has a voice very similar to Piotr of Vader, if a little blunter in places. You'll probably want a breather after this first track, but the intimidating "Personal Universe" will not allow such folly, as it bludgeons you into oblivion like a fleet of Star Destroyers en route to a real conflict. "...if the Dead Can Speak" begins with some timid, flowing guitars, elevating with some breakneck chugging, grooves and double bass madness, before the vocals take command over a simple, rolling pattern. "216" then again annihilates the listener into formless space dust. Get used to it, because it's going to happen again with "One Step Too Far", "Divine Project" and the tribally taunting "Simulation". (read the rest of the review here).

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tagged with 2009, 2010, 2011, Autothrall, Azarath, black metal, death metal, Lost Soul, technical death metal, Trauma, Witching Hour Productions
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