January 17, 2015

Review - 'Witchrist: Vritra' 12" MLP

Witchrist - Vritra 12” MLP (2015)

Iron Bonehead Productions

Review by Trevor Proctor

Iron Bonehead Productions is set to unleash an exclusive 12” MLP from one of New Zealand’s finest bands – Witchrist; a band that shared members with Diocletian and also featured KzR from the powerhouse that is BÖLZER on vocals for the first time on Vritra. New Zealand currently has a very healthy underground metal community and a seriously impressive group of bands to be proud of which includes the likes of Heresiarch, Diocletian, Trepanation and Sabbatic Goat. Unfortunately this MLP and a 7” split with Antediluvian via Martyrdoom Productions will be Witchrist’s final releases following the announcement of “the death of Witchrist” via Facebook on December 16th

During the six years since formation Witchrist have been creating savage blackened death metal laced with venom and barbarity, releasing two full lengths and a number of other splits, eps etc. in the process. Whilst their last album, The Grand Tormentor, was heavily influenced by War Metal this MLP sees them pushing further into the world of grinding death.

Vritra features three tracks, the first of which is Haruspex, a track that gets off to a slow and determined start, establishing and maintaining a steady grinding pace for just over a minute when we first hear the instantly recognisable vocals of KzR, marking the beginning of their sonic onslaught. From here onwards Witchrist step things up a gear or two with Kzr’s distinct vocal adding an air of menace to the focused yet chaotic assault as we’re subjected to a constant barrage of powerfully heavy death metal. Transmuting Rituals is up next and features, again, some excellent fast paced, grinding music but clocking in at well under the two minute mark it’s a case of time passing too quickly and you’re left with a hunger for more. 

Six minutes into this release The Golden Ascent starts and unfortunately it’s also the concluding track on this short lived masterpiece. In similar fashion to Haruspex pace-wise it’s a slow burner to begin with though there’s no doubting the heaviness from the off.  Across the duration of all three tracks you’re subjected to nothing but highest quality, heavy, vast, underground death metal from all quarters – the vocal and guitars are absolutely top-notch but Atrociter and Necrobastard, on bass and drums, are also effective driving forces behind the consuming maelstrom of music.

When it comes to music I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity and there’s no doubt about it, the music within Vritra is of the highest quality and open to no criticism whatsoever from me. It’s extremely good music and there’s no disputing the fact. However, when we realise just how good the music is whilst also considering this is one of Witchrist’s final releases I feel a slightly longer duration would have been welcomed and justified. Don’t get me wrong; in no way whatsoever does this detract from the music, I’ve already placed it on pre-order and can’t wait for its official release. Then again, isn’t it always the best bands that leave the fans on a high and eager for more?

What a way to bow out. 



1 - Haruspex
2 - Transmuting Rituals

3 - The Golden Ascent

Witchrist's Vritra 12” MLP is released by Iron Bonehead Productions.

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