Review by Trevor Proctor.
Nuclear War Now! Productions recently announced details of a split release due in September featuring Demonomancy from Italy and Finland’s Witchcraft. Both bands first shared a stage at NWN! Fest Vol IV in 2014 and will share a stage again at this year’s fest, and both have also joined forces to bring us what could turn out to be one of the year’s best split releases. Both bands are seen by many as being two of the most promising primitive black/death groups of recent years who could well end up being major influences on our future generation of underground music. This split will feature two tracks from Demonomancy and three from Witchcraft with the CD currently available and a vinyl edition to follow in September.
Demonomancy was formed in Italy during 2008 and released their first demo ‘Bearers of Black Arts or: Bearers of Black Arts for the Eternal Black Gods Triumph’ independently and also via Rawblackult Productions on cassette in April 2010. EP ‘Rites of Barbaric Demons’ followed in 2011 which in turn was followed by demo, ‘The Premonition’ in 2012. Debut full length ‘Throne of Demonic Proselytism’ was released by Nuclear War Now! Productions on vinyl in July 2013 and on CD in December of the same year.
Demonomancy open this split with two tracks which mark their first output since ‘Throne of Demonic Proselytism,’ the first track is new material and the second is a cover of Goatlord’s “Underground Church.”
Nobody likes being kept waiting but the good news is this has been three years of wait that’s been well worth it as Demonomancy burst straight out of the blocks in the strongest of fashions. Opener, ‘Archaic Remnants of the Numinous’ starts with a short intro with some demonic spoken word before firing you straight into one of the best tracks you’ll hear this year. The opening / main riff from this track is lethal and will stick in your head for ages - it marks the start of nearly nine minutes of extremely strong Death Metal that showcases just how good this band is. Everything about this track is seriously good; high tempo, good production, serious songwriting and most of all exemplary performances from all band members – throw in some quality riffs and you’re getting close to just how good this is. Demonomancy’s cover of Goatlord’s ‘Underground Church’ stays fairly true to the original albeit with a slightly higher tempo than the original and it's played in what’s becoming a signature sound for Demonomancy. Two sterling tracks from Demonomancy, just let’s hope they don’t keep us waiting as long again for further new music.
Finnish band Witchcraft (featuring members of Black Feast) was formed in 2013 and released their first demo ‘Noisecore Necrolatry’ in November of the same year, three tracks from which also appeared on the three way split, ‘North Karelian Black Winds,’ which also featured music from three other Finnish bands, Korgonthurus, Axeslaughter and Ruho. To date Witchcraft have released one demo. Witchcraft contributes three tracks with opener ‘At the Diabolus Hour’ being the only new material that hasn’t previously appeared on other recordings.
Witchcraft’s music brings us a different proposition altogether to that of Demonomancy as the pace is much slower and production levels lower. ‘At the Diabolus Hour’ is a very slow track with Church bells, demonic growling and squealing, strained guitar notes being your main accompaniment for a torturous, demonic trip that lasts well over four minutes. It’s a long four minutes that takes it’s time going anywhere but serves its purpose in setting a scene for the music to follow. ‘Grave Immolation’ is a track Witchcraft have featured on no less than five demos and splits and sets a much faster tempo immediately, it’s quite a speedy primitive black/death track with a slight drop of pace midway and when you give it a listen it’s obvious why it’s featured on so many releases prior to this. ‘Perverted Temple of Goatsodomy’ sees a drop back to a doom like pace and closes the split quite strongly, again with a more primitive yet effective sound.
Whilst I’ve been a fan of Demonomancy for a while this is the first I’ve heard from Witchcraft and the standard of music here is enough to prompt a hunt for their previous releases.
The differences in production levels and pace between these two bands are worlds apart yet both bring their own positive factors to this split. Yes, Witchcraft’s music has much more of a demo sound to it but it complements the music of Demonomancy perfectly. I’m always banging on about never underestimating the power of splits and this is most definitely the case with this release. I’m fortunate to be attending this year’s NWN! Fest and I’ll not be missing either of these two bands.
Another essential purchase for 2016. 9/10.
01 - Demonomancy - Archaic Remnants of the Numinous
02 - Demonomancy - Underground Church
03 - Witchcraft - At the Diabolus Hour
04 - Witchcraft - Grave Immolation
05 - Witchcraft - Perverted Temple of Goatsodomy.