HELLWITCH — Annihilational Intercention (review)

HELLWITCH — Annihilational Intercention album cover Album · 2023 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Annihilational Intercention" is the third full-length studio album by US, Florida based death/thrash metal act HellWitch. The album was released through Listenable Records in June 2023. It´s the successor to "Omnipotent Convocation" from 2009, so it´s been quite a few years since we´ve last heard from Hellwitch, but that was the case between the two albums before this one too ("Syzygial Miscreancy" from 1990 and the above mentioned "Omnipotent Convocation"). The 19 years between the first two albums were mainly due to Hellwitch disbanding in 1998 and not reuniting again until 2004, but that´s not the case this time around, as Hellwitch haven´t disbanded again since their 2004 ressurrection. They´ve obviously just a band who need a lot of time to come up with new material, or maybe they´re just extremely picky about what they put out.

Stylistically almost nothing has changed in the Hellwitch camp, which is quite an accomplishment from a band who formed in 1984. Hellwitch still play an energetic, technical thrash metal style with elements from both speed metal and death metal. Lead vocalist/guitarist Patrick Ranieri is still very much an aquired taste. He sings both raw aggressive snarling vocals, performs a few death grunts, but also some very high pitched screaming vocal parts, which I´m sure some people will loathe like the plague. It´s a huge part of what makes Hellwitch so unique, but the instrumental part of the music is also quite original and intriguing. It´s not completely wrong to describe the music like early Annihilator (but without the most melodic parts) meets early Atheist, with the vocalist from Macabre on board...

...so if you enjoyed the previous Hellwitch releases, you´ll pretty surely appreciate this one too, but of course that also applies the other way around. It´s not a release which will convert those who didn´t enjoy what came before.

"Annihilational Intercention" is well produced, well performed, and relatively well written. The reason for using the word relatively regarding the songwriting is that most tracks sound a lot alike and a bit more variation and memorable parts within the compositions would have been nice. Some of the tracks which stand out the most are actually re-arranged and re-recorded tracks from the band´s past like "Anthropophagi" which originally appeared on the November 1994 "Anthropophagi" demo or "Torture Chamber" which originally appeared on the January 1986 "Transgressive Sentience" demo and again on the above mentioned "Anthropophagi" demo. The former stands out because it´s a rather awkward attempt at creating a death/thrash power ballad???. At least the first couple of minutes of the song. "Torture Chamber" on the other hand is as old school technical speed metal as it gets and it´s in particular on this track that the Annihilator comparison is valid. While most of the remaining tracks are more in the technical death/thrash mold, they are not less old school. This sounds like it´s right out of a late 80s/early 90s release.

While that could have been a good thing, I´ll have to say that in this case Hellwitch are beginning to sound a bit outdated or maybe the insane energy and aggression from the earlier releases just aren´t present in the same high level intensity on "Annihilational Intercention". No matter what it is, I´m not as convinced about this album as I´ve been with the two preceding album releases, but when that is said "Annihilational Intercention" is still a high quality release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.
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UMUR wrote:
27 days ago
Check out their first album before anything else. If you enjoy Piece of Time by Atheist, chances are you ´ll find that one greatly charming.
Nightfly wrote:
28 days ago
Need to check this out. Not a band I've heard much by.


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