WITCHBURNER - Bloodthirsty Eyes

Witchburner - Bloodthirsty Eyes

9 songs
35:27 minutes
***** ****
High Roller


The first kind of music I really got into was thrash metal in the late Eighties. I especially like the raw sounding German bands like Destruction, Kreator, Sodom and many more. Then thrash turned into something new, less fast and more groove oriented, which was still ok but definitely lacked the charm of the pioneer days. Lately there has been a primal thrash revival, spearheaded by bands like Evile and Gama Bomb, and although they certainly sound nice enough for nostalgic elder people like me, they canít quite reach the authenticity of the movementís origins.

Enter Witchburner, a German band I have never heard of before, even though they have been around for over twenty years. In that interval, they have released a whole lot of albums and even more split records and EPs. Bloodthirsty Eyes is their seventh longplayer, and though I am not familiar with their previous works, I guess that they must have played this coarse and fast brand of thrash metal since their inception. On the new album Witchburner have a new lead guitarist and also a new vocalist, but still they sound as if they had always been playing together in that line-up.

The six minute long opener Sermon Of Profanity starts with an acoustic intro, followed by a grandiose instrumental parts, and itís only after two minutes into the song that the band fires off its trademark fast guitar riffs and pummelling double bass attacks. The remaining eight tracks are not that long, always located more or less between three and four minutes, and despite the bandís unrelenting love for speed, the good because very catchy songwriting and the more than able instrumental prowess makes sure that the thirty-five and a half minute long album never even gets boring for a second. The vocals may not be the most refined, but its vicious, barking qualities, not unlike a rabid dog, sure fit the general framework.

It would be farfetched to call these guys original, but then they are neither truly derivative. Of course they happen to quote other bands, like the guitar melody on Path Of The Sinner reminding me of Possessedís classic The Exorcist, but at the end of the day, Witchburner still have found their rather own niche. Yes, there are elements of Venom, and also of early Sodom, but Witchburner do sound more mature, and after twenty years of being rooted firmly in the underground, really know how to make a good impression. Bloodthirsty Eyes may be a rather short album, but then back in the early thrash metal days, vinyl albums rarely made it over forty minutes. That only happened with the advent of CD technology. The way things are, Witchburner deliver a better experience than many younger bands who merely copy the templates of their idols. Witchburner were there since the beginning, or at least shortly after the first groundbreaking genre milestones came out. And they still manage to rekindle the fierce and primitive emotions that I associated with thrash metal in my teenage years!

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