Witchrist [New Zealand]
Iron Bonehead Productions
Towards the end of 2014, New Zealand death horde Witchrist announced the end of the band, along with two final releases; one of which being the EP Vritra. Along with the final two releases, Witchrist ropes in KzR of Bölzer to handle vocals of the band’s swan song.
The material on Vritra is a continuation of the style that the band has created on their 2012 full length, The Grand Tormentor – heavy, suffocating death metal with every intention to crush all in Witchrist‘s path. The sense of unease is present right from the first ominous riffs of Occultorture and Abomination on Haruspex, before breaking into full speed. Vritra is what one would have expected from Witchrist, with the barbaric touch of the band’s musical style being rather reminiscent to the likes of Antediluvian, Teitanblood and of course, Diocletian though with a heavier death metal touch. True to Witchrist-style, the atmosphere throughout Vritra remains heavy as hell, even on the faster track Transmuting Rituals, giving it an almost Archgoat feel even.
The introduction of KzR on vocals is a nice fit for Witchrist, having already heard his works on Bölzer, giving a nice aggressive touch and complementing the material on Vritra with his gruff growls, a great successor of the likes of Imprecator and Void.
Ever since my exposure to Witchrist on their debut full length Beheaded Ouroboros in 2010, the band has quickly turned into one of my favourite death metal acts with their perfect blend of brutality and crushing atmosphere. While the demise of the band is indeed a pity, Vritra is a fitting epilogue to the band’s existence.
Favourite pick: Transmuting Rituals