There are times you just know. Something mystical about a good cover that seems to communicate something of the band, something about the album you are just about to listen to. Something just let’s you know you are about to hear something great.
Unto Death, the Colorado Springs band, Witchhand’s, 4th album is one of those albums. Where does one start to describe a work that is bound to become a classic filed somewhere between Christian Death‘s Catastrophe Ballet and T.S.O.L.’s Change Today? If you are into Death Rock, Goth Rock or Horror Punk, WitchHands has you. From the opening notes of the title track “Unto Death” through this four song journey’s end with “Dust (Dying of the Light),” this EP promises unrelentingly good, song after song. Trust me, I have listened to this possibly 30 times since I received a copy a couple of days before release, and it is now in my regular rotation. The crooning yells of singer Ryan’s strangely distant, yet hauntingly close vocals to Bryan’s thick thunderous drumming; The swirling dance of layers from Aaron’s screaming guitar, Josh’s driving bass and the steady ethereal keyboard work of Lance, this is a classic waiting to be recognized. The production has cleaned up and improved drastically from their previous releases, but still feels raw, reminiscent of proto death rock greats, creating a perfect balance. Unto Death is bound to find a permanent place in the collections of DJs, fans and audiophiles everywhere
Unto Death: From the first time I heard Witchands, I fell in love with the lofi sound. The gutter growl doom rock cheese. I worried the clear driving production level would kill that effect. It does not. It’s more of that energy but with laser beam precision. It’s a finer articulation, a focus to Ryan’s voice. A blend of guitar, drum and lyrics that opens the sanctum and makes you the sacrifice of this ritual. I’m still wandering through a foggy graveyard on a full moon, but the stars are clear enough to read the gravestones.
Neurenberg (Dying of the Light): We’ve brought up the tempo, and Bryan’s thundering tom fills create a languid ritual cascade. The clarity of running up a tight spiral staircase of climbing scales as the punctuating guitars weave a twisting dancer’s cadence. Lance’s vocals punch in with a newfound sense of emergency, capturing with their high energy.
*Mortification: This is our favorite track. Tribal drum rolls open, three unlicensed nuclear accelerators firing plasma at a spectre across a New York ballroom. Ryan’s voice unleashes such an intensity and urgency, his biology exploding through his vocal chords.
Dust (Dying of the Light): Closing track unleashes a thick and driving baseline. Again capturing that break neck speed and rum fills that kilter on the razor edge between doom rock and metal. This is a song of a desolate landscape, zombie truckers in the 1970’s driving through the desert huffed up on memories and formaldehyde.