You no doubt recognize the name Dan Swanö. The man’s known as an audio arbiter, and has worked on albums by bands like Bloodbath, Opeth, Marduk, Katatonia, Dark Funeral, and Dissection. Long story short, Swanö’s got an ear, and he’s checked in this week with a guest column, espousing an album he thinks you need to hear. Swanö’s band Witherscape releases its debut album, The Inheritance, on July 29 in Europe and August 6 in North America through Century Media Records.
Around ‘88 or ‘89, I would buy pretty much any album with something “evil” on the cover. And what can be more “evil” than the singer standing in flames on the cover.
This album is one of those magical recordings where the borders are a bit blurred; there’s some thrash going on, some black metal vibes here and there (very Satanic lyrics!) and there’s also a lot of death metal single-string riffage present. To me, this is one of the forgotten jewels of that era, and it’s great to see that the band finally seem to be getting some recognition, since they are announced to play at some festivals here in Europe (The fact that they are from Australia probably doesn’t help!)
The most spectacular thing about this album is the drumming. Darren McMaster-Smith is simply amazing behind the kit. I Googled him, and it seems that he’s a sought-after session-player these days and that doesn’t surprise me one bit because some of the fills and insane interpretations of the “classic metal rhythms” are truly astonishing!
One other thing that made this album “pop out” from all other releases I bought around this time (probably, like, 10 a month) is the fact that there are real songs here — not just a bunch of riffs placed in random order and some guttural noise added later. Nope. None of that. In fact, almost all songs on here are hit-singles in my book!
There are so many “throw your fist in the air and sing along” lines here I don’t even know where to begin!
For example, these lines from “Satan’s Crusade” — classic Satanic poetry: Fill my mouth with Satan’s sperm, The Virgin Mary cried, Abuse my body and fuck me hard, Let me burn in Hell, As I die, fuck my corpse, Orgasm in Hell I need, I pray to you o Lord o Satan, I kneel at your feet.
And it gets better: Hail to you, o Lucifer, let me be your bride, We fuck in hell together and Demons by our side, I am not a Virgin, I am a slut, My wings are clipped, there’s no escape, I wait for your command.
My other favorite tracks on the album are “Lucifer’s Domain” with this incredibly catchy chorus: Gasping for air, cannot breath the price that I must pay, To serve the lord for eternal life — Lucifer’s domain.
Then we have the epic “Marie Antoinette” with the legendary “only the low E string all the time” riff.
A “must-learn” for all one-armed guitar-players.
Then we’ve got “House of Death” and “Crucifixion”…all in all, the whole album’s great, but those are the “must hear to the end when they show up in my iPod” tracks!
So, if you like old school brutal metal with harsh vocals, uncomplicated yet filled with finesse, Hobbs Angel of Death’s debut album is the perfect item for your well-earned cash!
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