EPIC DEATH – Witchcraft (2015, Bast Records)
By Derek Norman
Many people in the mainstream probably view Black Metal musicians as giant Norwegians in corpse paint burning their half-eaten enemies alive in sacrifice to Satan. I want to clear up these misconceptions: There are no Norwegians in Epic Death.
In all seriousness, we need to lay the myths to rest. Just as in any other sub-genre, Black Metal includes certain core elements as well as a wealth of diversity within its community. If you choose to make assumptions about Epic Death as soon as you see the band in corpse paint, you are also choosing to deny yourself a fantastic Metal album.
Seconds into “Hide,” the album’s opening song, Stephen Bogle’s production quality should snag any listener immediately. This is a clean, crisp recording that easily rivals million dollar productions being released by major label bands. The instruments cut through the room like a series of spinning blades – with keyboards that are vital to the band’s sound, yet perfectly mixed to avoid losing any of the music’s heaviness.
Speaking of the band’s sound, I’ve been struggling to find the right words to define it. Maybe I shouldn’t try. Songs like “Hide” and “The Vendetta” lean toward Thrash Metal, dominated by precise riffs and machine gun drums. There also songs that contain more atmospheric and progressive elements, such as “Dragon’s Blood,” “Stay Away,” and “Incantation of Epic Death.” “Eye of the Storm” is an example of the combined speed and melody found in several tracks as well – almost like Power Metal if it were cultivated in the depths of Hell. In the end though, they all clearly feel like the cohesive whole that is Epic Death. The best way to understand this is to listen to the entire album from beginning to end and then do so again…and again…
There is also a surprise cover I dare not spoil here.
Epic Death’s songwriting sticks to the horror and spiritual themes one would expect from a Black Metal band for the most part. Where they stand apart, however, is in the execution. The band clearly understands and has a real respect for these topics, and it definitely shows in the final product. No gimmickry solely for the sake of their image is to be found here.
Witchcraft is simply an excellent Heavy Metal album no matter what your personal sub-genre preference may be – loaded with chainsaw riffs, tight drumming, catchy melodies, demonic vocals, and top-notch production values. You all must own it or be sacrificed!
Purchase the album Epic Death Store!
Leave a Reply