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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Reviews: Witch Tripper, Wiegedood, Nekrokraft, 20 Watt Tombstone (Reviews By Paul & Rich)

Witch Tripper: I, Of The Storm (Self Released) [Paul]

You know that feeling; you wander into the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock. It’s about 11am in the morning and you are maybe a little jaded from the sun, beer and the nutters from Midguard charging through your camp site at 4am. The band up on the stage look interesting, all stripped to the waist and fired up. And then they start to play. Holy fuck! Yeah, I’ve just described Bloodstock 2016, and my first encounter with Mansfield’s Witch Tripper. Their self-titled debut was released in advance of their second show at BOA, and the esteemed Ed gave it a healthy 8/10. The band has gigged relentlessly, building up a decent following and an impressive 86 gigs in 2017 is nothing to be sniffed at. 

Well, with anticipation, the sophomore release has arrived and mighty fine it is. Maintaining the heavy stoner rock which the band is renowned for, I, Of The Storm is 35 minutes of your life that you should invest without complaint. Check out the snarling gravel-soaked vocals of Richie Barlow, the fat chunky riffs which are deliciously heavy, and which combine magnificently with the thumping bass of Chris Stoff and Jimmy Collins thundering drums. A superb production retains the gritty sound that is so appealing. Opener White Lines needs no subject matter explanation, the title track is immense, and the throwaway good time feel of Poonstar all instantly make an impression. 

The pace slows for the blues saturated Roll The Dice, Barlow delivering some sweet guitar work and the tunes continue until the final track, The Road (It Hurts) which salutes the challenges that gigging bands face. I, Of The Storm is a massively entertaining slab of riffage which moves Witch Tripper on to the next level. Fantastic stuff. 9/10

Wiegedood: De Doden Hebben Het Goed III (Century Media) [Rich]

Wiegedood are a band that seem to making big waves in the black metal scene right now and if their third album De Doden Hebben Het Goed III is anything to go by then the hype is rightly justified. Wiegedood hail from Belgium and feature members of Oathbreaker and Amenra (both fantastic bands who I highly recommend checking out) but unlike their other bands the members of Wiegedood play straight for the jugular black metal. Very much taking inspiration from the Norwegian second wave this is black metal that is uncompromising and absolutely takes no prisoners razing all in its path. 

Wiegedood also incorporate melody and progressive song structures especially apparent in the title track which also happens to be my favourite piece from the album. De Doden Hebben Het Goed III isn't a lengthy album with a duration of only 34 minutes and a tracklisting of 4 songs but the music in these 4 songs is some of the finest and most uncompromising black metal you will hear this year. 9/10

Nekrokraft: Servants (The Sign Records) [Rich]

Servants is the second album by Swedish black metallers Nekrokraft who are a band that I have not heard of previously but got my attention upon finding out that they share their vocalist with blackened thrashers Witchery (a damn fine band if you haven't heard them). Servants is an intense album with a sound that combines elements of melodic black metal, death metal and thrash metal into a devastating combination. It's a sound that is violent and abrasive but highly melodic especially in the lead guitar playing. 

The songs range from atmospheric mid paced numbers to full on blast attacks with vocalist Angus Norder angst screams and growls like a man possessed. Servants is a highly enjoyable album which mixes many extreme elements of metal together resulting in an album that is dark, powerful and aggressive but with a melodic sensibility. Highlights throughout include Mouth Of Ahriman, Servants Ov The Black And Plague. 8/10

20-Watt Tombstone: Death Blues vs The Dirty Spliff (20 Watt Tombstone / Left Lane Cruiser) [Paul]

Coming straight out of Northern Wisconsin, 20-Watt Tombstone play “death blues”. Well, they certainly have a swaggering blues rock style which appeals. Melding the sounds of Clutch, The Black Keys with country blues and the attitude of Motörhead. Opening this fine EP is the fiery Lair Of The Swamp Witch, a fantastic song title and a thundering tune. The duo, for there is only two in this band, make hell of a sound, with the Reverend Meantooth’s guitar and hollerin’ ably matched by the ferocious drumming of the ludicrously named Grand Master On The Zee, who apparently also covers the yellin’! Your Man’s A Jerk and the stripped down Now She’s Gone, complete with some superb slide guitar work, demonstrate different styles which both demand attention. Keep an eye on 20-Watt Tombstone, surely a band with a decent future ahead of them. 8/10

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