Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Witchgrave - Witchgrave

Venom is easily one of the most influential bands in metal history. Almost any band playing metal in the vein of the old-school will tell you that Venom is one of their influences, and why wouldn't they be? But there are also bands out there who release music that is drenched in obvious "Welcome to Hell" and "Black Metal" worship, and they would be happy just to have their names mentioned alongside the metal masters. Sweden's Witchgrave is a band that could definitely be placed in the latter category, as the music on their self-titled debut is ugly and dirty speed-tinged heavy metal made for no other point than to get your headbanging and the air-guitar out. Unlike their Swedish contemporaries in Portrait, In Solitude, Ghost, etc, Witchgrave doesn't focus on writing melancholic or darker material (though, there is a little bit of that here and there), rather, the eight tracks are all pretty simple and derivative like they were written straight out of the '80s. 

"Witchgrave" doesn't get off to a great start, because the album-opener "Raise Hell" is one of the more mediocre songs on the record. Luckily, the next track "The Virgin Must Die" is one of the album's best. It shows off what the band does so damn good, and that's making simple, but memorable heavy metal. They aren't trying to fool anyone into thinking they're technical wizards, but they can pull off some catchy songs that should please fans of Venom, Motorhead and Midnight. Songs like "The Last Supper" and "Motorcycle Killer" feature fast riffs and some decent melodies to go along with ear-catching choruses and they get better with each listen. "The Apparition" is definitely the highlight of the album, but it's the ending of the song that really left me wanting more, as the band channeled King Diamond for a bit, and they did it pretty fucking good (kind of makes you wonder what they would sound like if they expanded on that sound a little more). Overall, Witchgrave are one of the better new heavy metal bands going today, who channel the grittier side of things, similarly to other new groups like Convent Guilt, Okkulta, Black Absinthe, etc. This record shows a lot of potential for the Swedish quartet and it's worth the time of anyone who enjoys any of the aforementioned bands, which puts them in some pretty awesome company. 

Be sure to check out and like Witchgrave on Facebook!

"The Virgin Must Die"
"The Apparition"
"Motorcycle Killer"

Final Rating
4/5 or 80%.