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Hellwitch – Syzygial Miscreancy

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Last Updated on 08:00 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

A decade ago I was hanging in the office of Andreas Stasinopoulos, our former editor in chief and one of my best friends, and I was searching for any cool album, that the older editors -and almost 15 years writing for Metal Invader- had left over. You know there was a hierarchy and when labels were sending us their packages, older editors were picking first and the thing was like a pick on the second round of NBA drafts when I was getting there. Now that I’m thinking of it, it was that time when Soundforge (the distribution label the guys from the magazine also owned) was closing and a foreclosure was too close for the company, so rats where abandoning the ship so I was lucky, or loyal enough, to get a great album out of nowhere, as this rich re-issue was something no one was expecting. So, the edition I own, is the 2009’s Displeased Records copy including also Transgressive Science Demo ’86, (featuring “Nosferatu”, “Satan’s Wrath”, “Torture Chamber” and “Fate At Pain’s End”), Mordirivial Disemanation Demo ’87 (featuring “Degeneration”, “Nosferatu”, “Purveyor Of Fear” and “Pyrophoric Seizure”), Rehearsal/Demo ’89 (featuring “Archangel” -Death Cover- “Mordirivial Disemanation” and “Viral Exogence” and Nosferatu Demo ’84 (featuring “Nosferatu”). But I will focus on the 1990’s LP. I guess not so many could predict that a generic thrash band on the mid-80’s could create one of the greatest Death Metal albums of the 90’s in the US. No fellas, I’m not overreacting as actually Hellwitch managed to delivered only one masterpiece, if you can call this easy to do so, and this was their ticket to get their asses on the pantheon of the genre. Their first demo tape back in 1984 was rather poor but on its follower “Transgressive Sentience”, there was a remarkable and easy to notice progress both on their songwriting and in their playing. The new songs had more tense, better harmonies, cool riffs, actually tons of riffs and definitely better sound. Hellwitch came from Gainesville / Florida and had one of the most original sound of the early Death Metal bands. Based on their technical skills, that were working on for almost 5 years, they played quite fast and had this morbid on their sound. Along with Atheist, Pestilence and Death they were pioneers of the so-called Progressive Death and probably if they had a different singer than Pat Ranieri (also on guitars too), I’m not saying “better”, as I’m careful and I use the word “different” instead, they might have an alternative career. But as the albums was originally out in December 1990 on Wild Rags, I suppose Combat, Earache or Roadrunner would have made it a tremendous success, in terms of extreme metal standards, even with a cat behind the microphone, so let’s forget the different singer scenario. “Syzigial Miscreancy” was recorded at Morrisound Studios by Scott Burns. Most of you will recognize the warm and analogic sound of the famous studios that characterized this whole era. Still Hellwitch succeeded to delivered their own madness, in the less than 30 minutes long record. The crazy sound, the frenzy and melting riffs, the chaotic tempos, the fast and brutal drumming, the violent aura and the too complicated, yet thrashy, structure of the songs, share the same fuckin’ idea behind this whole album, that is all about taking a step beyond your limits. Sometimes you get the feeling this playing has the cause to impress you just for the cause of it, but that doesn’t affect the final result, in fact any other instrumentation would have had rather a typical result. Their influences included Malevolent Creation, Nasty Savage, Dark Angel, Slayer, definitely Sadus and perhaps Voivod if you considered how deranged and sci-fi brilliant this album is. Despite the fact that everything is a hyperbolic situation Hellwitch have this impressive and memorable high-pitched vocals and surprising effective tech-thrash riffing that stick to your mind. The lyrics are well written and interesting as the band uses a plethora of eccentric words in order to show off their rich vocabulary -and bringing in mind Carcass-that definitely will make you use the dusty Oxford dictionary you had in high school years, if you want to follow their lyrics.

Giorgos Tsekas
Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ

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