Hellwitch
Syzygial Miscreancy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
December 3rd, 2008 | 57 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Forgotten gem from Florida's once-legendary death metal scene.

Florida is known for a handful of things: senior citizens, orange juice, fratboy losers, Cuban immigrants, John Hanson and death metal. As interesting as these all may be, it's the last one that's particularly relevant. Florida death metal is strong for a few reasons. It's got the down and dirty death metal of Obituary, the angular face-smashing work of Morbid Angel, the shape-shifting Death and the thrashy-come-technical twiddling of Atheist. Alongside these more obvious choices are the lesser known acts. There's Nocturnus, a band that succeeded in spite of its tacky sci-fi themes and vivaciously queer keyboard work. And then there's Hellwitch, a band who relegated themselves to the annals of obscurity as a result of bad timing and an unpronounceable album title. Syzygial Miscreancy, their lone album, came out in 1990---just one year after Atheist's jaw-dropping and eerily similar sounding Piece of Time.

Like Piece of Time, Syzygial Miscreancy starts off with a synthy, disposable intro that begs the question, “Nocturnus anyone?”. “Nosferatu” promptly answers with a resounding no. The track, like the 5 it precedes, is an unrelenting mishmash of piercing, thrashy death metal. Playing the brand of death metal that lends itself to words like 'scathing', 'piercing' and 'ravenous', Hellwitch share more than a few similarities with Atheist, the band whose unmitigated success is perhaps as responsible as anything for their unfair placement in death metal history's back pocket. Alongside their technical brand of thrashy death metal, Patrick Ranieri's partly-yelled, partly-shouted and entirely rabid vocal delivery bears a striking resemblance to Kelly Shaefer's. But at least Patrick isn't a girl's name.

Of course Hellwitch's similarity to early Atheist is as much a product of coincidence as it is demographic. And of course that's another product of shitty timing: they both formed in 1984 but Hellwith was a year late releasing their debut. Ultimately, its irrelevant. The comparison is a lazy and obvious one and holds no real bearing on the music, which is for the record far more incendiary and unrelenting than anything Atheist would ever write, with a surprisingly charming acoustic break in “Mordirivial Dissemination” being the album's only break from insanity.

Barring the occasional technical misstep and the rare put perplexing use of vocal effects, Syzygial Miscreancy is 25 minutes of blast-heavy, shred-heavy and treble dominated death-thrash that rarely falters. It's a forgotten piece of history and while it falls just short of being classic, it's still a must hear for anyone with an ear for the early, not so swampy Florida sound.



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user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
December 3rd 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Figured I'd write a quick review up (took like 15 minutes, if that) for an album that actually rules after having to put myself through that Becoming the Archetype album.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2008


16089 Comments


John Hanson

Tyler
Emeritus
December 3rd 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

94 reviews. I'm going to crack 100 by January i think.

McP3000
December 3rd 2008


3941 Comments


make it a special album for #100

either a complete hate spewing, and scornful review, or just something you grovel over.

but then you probably wontThis Message Edited On 12.03.08

Tyler
Emeritus
December 3rd 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ill probably review #100 and realize it's #100 after the fact tbh

tombits
December 3rd 2008


3470 Comments


Great review. One small spelling error:

And then there's Hellwith


Tyler
Emeritus
December 3rd 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice catch, I'm sure it's one of many.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 3rd 2008


2710 Comments


Excellent review.

DBlitz
December 3rd 2008


1690 Comments


great album

rasputin
December 3rd 2008


14544 Comments


John Hanson

south_of_heaven 11
December 3rd 2008


5433 Comments


everytime I've looked for like some more death/thrash these guys are always one of the first bands to pop up but I have never even listened to one of their songs...I read that the production wasn't the best so I never bothered with it for some reason?

rasputin
December 3rd 2008


14544 Comments


for some reason?

Thor
December 3rd 2008


10192 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's more like it. Your short old-school death metal reviews are some of your best.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2008


17920 Comments


that whole 'do something special for arbitrarily chosen # of reviews' is dumb

BallsToTheWall
December 3rd 2008


44407 Comments


Ahh, the cubans. Even though they're overly obnoxious and can't drive i'll take em over old people. Will check this out.

Digging: She Past Away - Belirdi Gece

south_of_heaven 11
December 3rd 2008


5433 Comments


[quote=rasputin]for some reason?[/quote]
I usually enjoy sloppy production, so it confuses me as to why I constantly put off listening to this...shit, I don't even know if it's even that bad...

Tyler
Emeritus
December 3rd 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The production is fine. It's no different than any other death-thrash album that came out in the late 80s or early 90s. The vocals are a little hollow sometimes and it's really trebly but that's pretty standard.

Bleak123
December 3rd 2008


1902 Comments


standard

Tyler
Emeritus
December 3rd 2008


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what

Bleak123
December 3rd 2008


1902 Comments


you heard

good review, will probably check this out at some point in the future
This Message Edited On 12.03.08



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