Review Summary: the one where the hornets' nest gets kickedWITCH HUNT
grounds itself in a viciousness which belies the stultified life it follows around like a disobedient shadow. At least, The Long Pig
acquaints us with but a worn soul (“Trade living a life for staying alive”). But as the witch hunt progresses deeper into the forest -- under the command of frantic, scorched riffs -- we watch the same soul crumble under duress. Things continue to get worse…
Then it feels not just like a documentation of malice, but a descent into…something (madness" paranoia" violence"). It charts a path through various betrayals, represented by metaphors and personifications aligned with the black metal/crust punk ethos (a veritable collage of “corpses”, “rust”; abject nihilism) and it does so without pause. The ferocity with which the record carries itself is a way of rendering a sense of inevitability. Indeed, the only time a gap in the wall of distortion opens, it’s more of a gash, a literal open-wounded gasp for air at the end of the title track that pulls me out of a trance and brings me to terms with the fact that I’m listening to -- for all intents and purposes -- something uncompromising, something determined to react with brute force. WITCH HUNT
meets the biting cold with fire in One of Us
, hope with pessimism in Hollow Bones
, normalcy with rebirth in Threads
Behind it, lingering -- the lifelessness of normality, wringing the instrumentation of its breathing room and replacing it with a venom. The drums sound dry but energized, the snare beaten so hard and so fast that its skin is likely as bruised as a haemophiliac who’s just fallen down a flight of stairs. There’s a healthy balance between tremolo riffs and palm-muted chugging, and the shrieks are raspy, stuck in the space between fearful and vituperative. The palette suggests an attempt not to outrun the mundanity of modernity, but to burn a hole through its centre. In setting the scene, accusations are thrown, and all the usual avenues of escapism are exposed as pointless: nostalgia “infects” the brain, your search for meaning is fruitless (“you have no use” wails Trixie
), and, oh so typically, the only true way out is death. Horro Vacui
brings things to a halt, even offering a solution. With “mist and revelation”, it suggests, “chaos reigns”. It’s a simple unveiling, perhaps even anti-climactic, but consider the ideology and the music as a singular entity, and it makes perfect sense in a way that crust punk rarely does.
And if the synergy between theme and composition isn’t enough: WITCH HUNT
also riffs and/or slaps and/or rules. Listen.