Posts Tagged ‘Witches Brew’

Evil Force - Banging on the Pentagram

Well, I think this is the first band from Paraguay that I’ve ever reviewed, but I feel like I know how this is going to. South American? Named Evil Force? Album title is ‘Banging on the Pentagram’? The only thing missing from South American thrash stereotype 101 is the black and white cover art. Witches Brew dropped this thrash gem on Christmas Eve last year, and what a hidden gem it is!

Opening strongly with the title track, all galloping Teutonic riffs and punkish energy. There’s dashes of vintage speed metal in there too, and it feels like someone injected early Slayer with a bt more melody. The infectious ‘Command of Pain’ worms its way under your skin like some malignant disease and refuses to leave, inspiring rabid headbanging with its razor sharp riffing. The good thing about Evil Force is they are considerable less raw than some of the Sarcofago worshipping stuff to come from South America, and therefore have uniqueness points immediately.

The thudding groove of ‘Devastation Time’ and the manic ‘Nocturnal Witchery’ are two personal highlights, but you’ll struggle to find a poor song on ‘Banging on the Pentagram’. Full of infectious, old school speedy thrash anthems, Evil Force rock like it’s 1983, and there’s no such thing as ‘Fade to Black’ yet. The garden of riffs is full and ripe, and Evil Force have plucked many classics for this piece of thrash beauty!


You can kinda guess where a band called Steelballs is going. Especially with that cartoonish rendering of a Manowar cover idea. Argentina is home to these true metal warriors, who play metal the old fashioned way; speedy and catchy as all hell. Their debut EP is only four tracks but you’ll instantly fall in love with these guys, just like I did. It is being released on Witches Brew, and is another triumph for those guys there.

The opener takes the classic ‘song name is same as album and band’ approach, and this feels like a statement of intent. Musically, it’s pulling all those early metal bands together. I’m feeling Helloween, Blind Guardian, Agent Steel and the likes oozing from my speakers. Spiralling melodic solos, galloping riffs and awesome vocal harmonies bring us to a land where metal rules and Manowar are gods. Classic, speedy heavy metal is always good if executed well, and Steelballs nail every element of it.

‘Farewell’ and ‘Inquisitor of Faith’ are two more excellent slabs of speed metal greatness, and a bonus highlight for me is the stunning Helloween cover ‘Starlight’, which ties this together really well. Steelballs are fucking excellent, and alongside Night Demon, are my favourite HEAVY METAL discoveries of the past year. Metal never dies!



Chicago heavy metallers Lethal Shöck dropped their debut record back in July on the excellent Witches Brew label, and they are a band for whom the early 80s didn’t evolve into the heavy metal world we know today. They are firmly lodged back with the likes of classic Venom and Exciter, and ‘Evil Aggressor’ is a half hour blast of heady speed metal glory.

First, we need to address that album cover. A demon guitarist shooting electric bolts at a poor victim from his axe, while a church burns in the background? Holy shit, that’s metal as fuck. Opener ‘Sulfur Heart’ reinforces that feeling, with a big build up intro straight into classic speed metal riffing. A cocktail of Motorhead and Venom guitar gallop, with a spike and leather clad gravelly vocal performance which induces the burning desire to bang heads and destroy pits. The rabid ‘Atomik Obedience’ and short sharp shock of ‘I Am Your Hero’ are reminscient of the neon punk thrash that Municipal Waste sought to emulate a few years back, but Lethal Shöck are grimier and rawer.

For the traditionalist, there is the galloping verse riffs and glorious solos of ‘Endless Midnight’; fans of the rawer approach will take heart in the raspy vocals and the sick guitar tone. ‘Evil Aggressor’ is a shot in the arm to those who think that since Lemmy died that heavy metal is dying. This carries on the great man’s legacy, and while never matching his penchant for rock and roll, Lethal Shöck’s love of classic speed and heavy metal shines through. Songs like the rousing ‘Iron Fisted Assault’ and the thrashing ‘Up the Voltage’ are bursting with energy and vigour. Never mind stoking the fires of metal, ‘Evil Aggressor’ pours petrol on it and laughs as the world burns!

War Atrocities - Necromantical Legions

Croatian black thrashers War Atrocities, a one man war machine from Split, released their MCD ‘Necromantical Legions’ back in December, but this is my first opportunity to hear it, and man is it a twenty five minutes chainsaw through the jugular. You can find it on Witches Brew Productions.

‘Screams from the Pits’ begins with an eerie start, lulling you into that false sense of security. The tolling bell that starts ‘Destruktor of Eternal’ is equally creepy, but then the classic early Sodom riffing begins, and you find out what War Atrocities are all about. Rabid riffing, a cavernous rasp espousing darkness and evil, and a nasty but almost straightforward set of riffs keeps the music memorable. The production isn’t too raw either, which helps the songs breathe a little.

‘Mayhem Mongers’ is a rocking piece of black thrash, while ‘Cryptic Calls’ has more than a dash of classic Celtic Frost about it.. It’s actually nice to hear a band injecting a bit of genuinely musicality into this genre, as most are just relentless, battering Bathory worship. Speaking of Quorthon, the disc closes with the Bathory song ‘Armageddon’, which seems quite fitting. ‘Necromantical Legions’ is nowhere near as raw as some blackened thrash out there, but that gives it a new lease on life, as songs like the rampant ‘Storm of the Tyrant’ and the awesome ‘Ripper’s Call’ are testament to.