Come see what all the toil and trouble is about with Witches Brew.
Witches Brew is a German heavy metal label that was started in 2002 “by an insane Thrasher who just had to release some albums of underground and unknown bands”, and whose goal is to “bring attention to newer bands and give them a chance to be heard on a wider scale!” This is truly a noble cause that everyone here at the Toilet can back, so naturally in order to help spread the good word, I have chosen to talk about a few of the compelling 2016 releases this label has to offer. Not only do the releases here cover a variety of metal sub-genres, but also a variety of global backgrounds. The 5 bands today originate from 5 different countries that span a total of 3 continents. In a world where scenes and identities are created based on location, it is heartwarming to know heavy metal labels can look past borders and differences to find purveyors of the almighty RIFF and bring their music to the light of the world.
Hail, Witches Brew!
Crimson Storm – Speed Hammerin’ Metal (January 11, 2016)
Starting the year in TRUE METAL fashion, Italy’s Crimson Storm released their first single after their debut EP, and it simply rips. Clocking in at ten minutes and ten seconds “Speed Hammerin’ Metal” and its accompanying b-sides will slay all non-metal believers with STEEL. Finger-bleeding solos and neck-breaking riffs attack your ears while the drum beats pummel you into oblivion. However, it is the vocals that push this release over the edge. Singer Hans Andersen ranges from a melodic baritone (not unlike that of Noble Beast), to highs that will make Rob Halford‘s ears bleed. Fans of metal, bask in the glory.
Thrashit – Kaiser of Evil (February 16, 2016)
Thrashit are a group of Malaysian metal-heads that are ready for war. After the quick banger opener that is “Pressure” the listener is assaulted with a barrage of machine gun fire, artillery rounds, and explosions that set the mood for the oncoming onslaught. Thrashit effortlessly trudge through the trenches during their 25 minute battle cry, waving their banner of blackened thrash for all to see. The strength of this release is in its ability create a catchy atmosphere while retaining a fairly technical and evil sound.
Saboter – Mankind is Damned (July 6, 2016)
Saboter is perhaps the most classic sounding band featured today. These Hellenistic warriors have released a futuristic concept album influenced by USPM greats such as Liege Lord, Slough Feg, and Jag Panzer. As is suggested by the album title, Mankind is Damned describes many facets of a dystopian future and mankind as a whole. The production value is a huge bonus for me on this album, many times I felt as if I was not listening to a newly released album, but instead a long-lost album from 1989. The riffs are tasty, and the vocals hit the higher registers just right, with enough gruffness. All in all, it is a very solid album.
Surtur – Descendent of Time (February 26, 2016)
Add one part Kreator, and one part Sepultura over ice, shake, and garnish with Scott Burns. There you have it, the Surtur Cocktail of Death. Now, take a moment and stab play, listen to the 15 minute massacre that is Descendent of Time and tell me where these boys are from. South America? Nope. Europe? Wrong Again. Surtur hail from Bangladesh, specifically the capital city of Dhaka, and put on a rapid display of violent songwriting worthy of seasoned veterans. Vocally however, Surtur take an altogether different approach that utilizes a more high-pitched, shrieking technique that blends well with their brand of thrashy death.
LETHAL SHÖCK – Evil Aggressor (July 22, 2016)
Look at that album cover. Now look at it again. Evil demon dude in a graveyard with a Flying V plugged into the Marshall proton pack on his back, firing at what can only be described as an ex-poser in an explosion of metal glory. With song titles such as “Atomik Obedience”, “Iron Fisted Assault”, and “Up The Voltage”, you know exactly what you are getting on this album, and LETHAL SHÖCK deliver. This Chicago based trio take the evil metal approach of Venom and amp it up with a healthy dose of crossover fun on their debut full-length. Evil Aggressor demonstrates the band’s ability to write catchy and instantly headbangable riffs that will surely please any fan of fast, aggressive riffs, and blistering solos.