The Devils Night
(Metal Inquisition Records)
Sweden, bloody fuckin' Sweden... always churning out tons of killer Metal acts under our watchful eyes that simply scream to be liked and adored. WITCHGRAVE, this 2-piece act from Växjö, Sweden, features members from two other Swedish Metal bands - ANTICHRIST (Thrash Metal) and Eviscerated (Death Metal), and the band has chosen a path to be wandered that so many other Metal bands have wandered for the last 4 decades already; a path of NWOBHM. These Swedes count of the power of early IRON MAIDEN, early VENOM, early MERCYFUL FATE, early ANGEL WITCH and let's even add early RUNNING WILD to this same pile. Call it "evil and satanic Heavy Metal" or whatever, but this is how Heavy Metal should sound like in my humble opinion, having this menacing and evil twist all the way through involved with it. Joakim Norberg, who sings and plays both guitar and bass on the EP, sounds a little bit like an incarnation of younger versions of both Cronos and Tom G. Warrior with his gnarly vocal style, full of unrelenting power and energy. The guys have also been smart enough to obey the NWOBHM recipe to the very core even production-wise; the production is raw, authentic and unpolished, surely fooling totally some of you people out there to think whether you have missed to hear WITCHGRAVE back in early 80s because they indeed have adopted the whole magical NWOBHM concept so purely yet so perfectly for themselves. Even I had to do some research in order to find out some facts about this retro-ish sounding Swedish act to place them to the correct spot in the family tree of Heavy Metal. Otherwise they'd have managed to fool me completely, too. WITCHGRAVE is pretty much a perfect example of the ongoing movement to capture the magic and mayhem of NWOBHM sound perfectly, so don't hesitate to check them out if you are at least a bit of a fan of the aforementioned genre. www.myspace.com/witchgrave or www.metal-inquisition.de
The Devils Night
(High Roller Records)
Without any biography or info sheet I received this release from High-Roller-Records. I only checked out their myspace page for at least a little news around them. According to this little information I have this is WITCHGRAVE's first release. The reason why I wonder about that is the overall original and outstanding approach this 2-piece outfit presents us on this 4-song mini album. What you get is old-fashioned Heavy Metal with tendencies to NWOBHM and a mix somewhere in-between VENOM (vocals, solos, speed) and MERCYFUL FATE (riffs, atmosphere). Not the worst comparison if you ask me. I'm really surprised by this output as I didn't expect something awesome like this at all. If you read song titles as 'The Devils Night', 'Eyes Of The Undead', 'Satanic Slut' and 'Beg For Mercy' you can guess what the lyrics deal about. As the lyrics are not included on this release you can keep it with the guess. Well, 4 pretty short tunes offered here, perfect for fans of the 2 mentioned bands, perhaps also something for those pretty interested in the hype around THE DEVIL'S BLOOD. This band offers an atmosphere not far away from them, and something completely else. I'm really fascinated by those 4 tunes and was surprised after the first listen and can do nothing else than recommend this release to all of you maniacs out there interested in dark, occult and old-fashioned Heavy Metal. This is simply outstanding, original and far too less (due to the short playing time). I keep my eyes open for a full-length from the WITCHGRAVE and I'm forced to finish with 'all thumbs up'. As usual for High-Roller-Records this release is limited to 500 pcs. Better be fast to order it from www.hho-records.de. Check out the band at www.myspace.com/witchgrave.