Saturday, April 14, 2012

Witchtrap - Vengeance Is My Name [2012]

Taking into consideration that I’m such an avid black/thrash fan (it probably being my favorite genre of all), I really wanted to give the new Witchtrap album a good listen. The first song struck me as mildly mediocre, and was slightly disappointed at how little ‘black metal’ it actually was. In fact, “Vengeance Is My Name” has little or no black metal traits at all, even though it goes around being labeled as such. No--Witchtrap are not black/thrash, let's clear that out right now. These Colombians are simply another retro-thrash act aiming to go big among millions of other retro-thrash bands, with thousands of new ones sprouting incessantly. And while they probably are better than most of said bands, there’s not much that “Vengeance Is My Name” actually had to offer, save the pervasive ‘fun’ and ‘headbangable’ factor, arguably bouncy and perhaps influenced more heavily by early German thrash than anything else.

Lately there’s been this weird retro-black/thrash thing going on, most notably in new bands like Witchaven, and this is the style that Witchtrap have adopted over time. I’d say that the latter is more old-school than the former, probably because of the razor-sharp riffing and the less overt new-school influences and derivative riffs. They've snatched a considerably catchy style that plays in the vein of various different forebears, namely the Teutonic thrash bands, early Metallica and some Venom; though less vicious than the Germans and more appealing to the retro-thrash crowd. I will say that most of the riffs found on here are quite catchy, fun and headbang-inducing, yet the songwriting isn’t always at its best and not as engaging as one may have wished. Riffs tend to get repeated a lot, but to their credit, a lot of them are catchy enough that they don’t get overly boring as the songs progress and play the same riffs over and over; and fortunately, there’s a nice addition of usually more-than-competent guitar leads, uplifting the band’s music.

The vocals aren’t, to my dismay, black metal rasps. They’re more of a cross between Schmier and Petrozza, honestly quite bland and not saturated with evil as much as with a thrasher attitude; aptly spoken and touching on various stereotypical black/thrash themes to drive along the lyrics. (Metal, evil, headbanging, anger and violence, etc. etc., you know the drill). While most of the album offers hardly original thrash traits, most of the riffs are catchy enough and there’s also a weird clean guitar thing that they had going on in “The Queen Of Hell”. As a whole, “Vengeance Is My Name” is not that varied nor original (at all), though it does flow nicely and offer some better tidbits on a few songs than others. And even though it has absolutely no black metal traits to make it all the better, I enjoyed what Teutonic-thrash influence it had in store, and did elicit occasional delighted headbanging on my part. Apart from that, however, this album has scarce memorability, serving as another offering of formulaic thrash that’s littering the scene, and when derivative songs like “Metal” came on, I was largely tempted to hit the ‘skip’ button and delete it. Worthy of staying in my music library, yet I fear it’ll be visited very rarely.



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