WITCHES HAMMER - Witches Hammer
February 16, 2019, a month ago
Originally recorded in 1987 and issued as a very limited 12”, this five-song EP from Delta (near Vancouver)-based Witches Hammer is a true treat for not just fans of deep Canadian metal history but also anyone who loves raging, maniacal, slightly technical speed/thrash, as this sounds like it could have come out today on a label like Hells Headbangers or Iron Bonehead. Indeed, Nuclear War Now! have dabbled in Witches Hammers reissues over the years, and for good reason, but this release on the very cool Victoria, BC-based archival label Supreme Echo not only has the local connection but also has the heart and passion behind it, as the detailed and entertaining booklet proves, as does the remastered sound quality—this sounds as good as I need any new release to sound today.
And the songs rule: “No Limits”, for example, crescendos to an absolutely ridiculous balls-to-the-wall speed metal attack, “Rise Above” is a short blaster showing a bit of the influence from the crossover scene where the band found acceptance back in the late ’80s, and the excellent “Thulsa Doom” starts off quiet and acoustic before taking a no-time-for-grace left turn back to crazed speed metal, the thrash so barbaric it’s way more German than American (the barbarism is no surprise when you consider that guitarist Marco Banco went on to join Blasphemy). But the band members aren't just putting their heads down and racing to the finish line, as many of the riffs here show some technical chops, as does the drum work. By turn raging and fascinating, this is both an excellent metallic time capsule and a totally legit thrash attack.