Formed in the early months of 2017, El Salvadorian ‘WITCHGÖAT’ have spent the last year developing their sound; blending together elements of thrash and black metal. Whilst this may not be the most original idea in recent history, the two genres fit together well and there is plenty of potential up for grabs. With a debut full length in the works for later this year, ‘WITCHGÖAT’ have released an 11 minute demo tape as a teaser for what is to come. ‘Umbra Regit’ is a concise collection of two songs and an instrumental track aimed as a prelude to the as yet untitled debut album so it is not clear as to whether any of these tracks will make it onto the album. That being said, the 11 minutes of metal extremity on this EP paint a clear picture of what we can hope to expect when the album does emerge.
Opening track ‘Emanations From The Underworld’ dives straight in with pure thrash metal riffing overlaid with harsh black metal vocals. The ghoulish screams of vocalist M. Miasma fit comfortably with the thrash instrumentals and sound like a more extreme version of bands like ‘Overkill’ or ‘Testament’. Far too often, young thrash bands can find themselves getting stuck in a rut of repetition and formulaic song structures; fortunately, this is an outcome that ‘WITCHGÖAT’ strive to avoid. ‘Emanations From The Underworld’ constantly develops and progresses through varying riffs and melodies in a way that helps to show that this more than just another generic thrash band. Following number ‘Proliferation Of The Dark Souls’ feels a little more generic in comparison, but no less enjoyable. Charging along at a break neck speed with pummelling blast beats and shredding solos ‘WITCHGÖAT’ sound like a band with a point to prove. The guitar solos are enjoyable without ever overstaying their welcome and lead into some of the best riffs on the EP. What is most interesting however, is the final instrumental track ‘Towards The Gûlgaltâ’. Here, ‘WITCHGÖAT’ strip away the thrash influences and ramp up the black metal with an eerie and expansive classical composition that suggests a darker side to the album and shows the bands have more than one string to their bow.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, the level of production on ‘Umbra Regit’ takes away a lot of the impact and can be quite off putting to listeners, however there is enough here to spark our interest and we are interested to see where this develops.
Personal Highlight: Opening track ‘Emanations From The Underworld’ is one of those songs that gets more enjoyable with every listen, however the standout moment on ‘Umbra Regit’ goes to the instrumental finale which suggests a far more interesting and diverse record than we initially anticipated.
'UMBRA REGIT' is out on 31st July 2018
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