Review Summary: An effective mix of thrash and hardcore which is bound to please fans of both. Raw Sorcery
is not an album thats fools around, not a second is wasted on the twenty three minute EP which contains a mixture of hardcore, thrash, stoner and a bit of grindcore for good luck. The band seems determined to craft music that not only encompasses all those styles but that also gives you the most aggressive musical experience possible, regardless of what genre the band is emulating. The album also seems to be fairly removed from the current metal and hardcore scenes with only the odd moment that sounds inspired by anything from the last decade.
Despite talking about the EPs destructive aggression the first song on the E.P, Failed Harvest does not go very far in proving my point as the riff while very distorted is slow-going but not in a doom way and is soon met with a pretty tasty solo that works in some really nice bends and sweeping while not sounding bogged down by technical tomfoolery. Halfway into the song however you are treated to what I can only assume is a sample from a movie of a man shouting although it is not very clear what he is actually saying, the madman signals a bit of a mood change as after him the song becomes a great deal heavier largely thanks to the bands singer Sam Hell whose voice is overflowing with hate and anger. Sam employs a vocal style that is reminiscent of some of the heavier punk and hardcore bands with raw screams that sound like his throat is being wrenched apart, the album would still feel heavy without him but he is largely responsible for the albums real aggression. His vocal style stays largely the same over the six tracks even while all the other instruments move around, in fact, the only thing that really changes is the speed at which his tortured yells ring out.
After Failed Harvest has faded into feedback the albums title track kicks in, and I really mean kicks in with the song being a stellar example of the bands attempts at thrash. Almost straight away the song hits fast speeds with a rapid power-chord thrash riff being the focal point for the speed, the chorus is a somewhat slower affair with cymbal heavy drums and a discordant tapping riff playing at intervals. The all out thrash on the song is nowhere near the speed Doom ***ing Doomed's brief moment of an almost black metal sound near the start with a tremolo picked riffs and blast beat and the song is one of the strongest on the EP with lots of strong riffs and a nice simple guitar melody. Guitar work is strong throughout most of the record with both guitarists pulling of the fast and slow very well and with just enough melody to make it interesting, there are songs that have a really great groove to them that can sound just as crushing as blast beat moments on the album. The song Oblivion is a really great example of the guitarist's very impressive solo's, which also seems to encompass quite a few different styles. Drumming is good as well with patterns that compliment the songs nicely especially on the song Pillage Your Village.
Downbeat groove and thrash isn't all this release can do however. The first riff to the awesome Awaken Ye Heathens (is it just me or do a great deal of these songs sound like objective's you would receive in a fantasy-based RPG game) actually reminds me of many a metalcore riff with a fast succession of tight hammer-ons but the much less tight production means it fits in without any trouble. The production on the album is decent overall and seems intentionally lo-fi although it can occasionally leave the vocals sounding very drowned out by everything else that's going on and consequently I was barely able to pick out any lyrics at all from the songs so that element of the album is quite hard to discuss, which is annoying because the song titles suggest that they might be quite interesting in a medieval kind of way. I can tell you however that the title track contains the line: ''Wizards and witches performing black masses/ spilling the blood of the meek/ Preparing all virgins fools for the harvest'' which I think its fair to say is probably the best and most metal lyric ever contained on an album and I imagine that the majority of the rest of the songs follow this trend.
Hang The Bastards six song E.P is one of hate, devastation and grind. Songs move from doom filled sludge fests to all out thrash influenced hard-core in the blink of an eye and with the feeling and technical skill needed to pull it off as well. This should appeal to fans of a wide number of different genres that metal and punk have created and I wait another LP with great anticipation.