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HELLWITCH Annihilational Intercention

By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Monday, November 27, 2023 @ 9:34 AM

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Annihilational Intercention

Listenable Records

Here's a 'Review rewind' thing I'll be doing where I take a look back at this year's releases in case some of the many great albums of 2023 had passed you by. When the opportunity arises to check out a band I had never heard of, I'll take it. Especially one from Florida considering its great history of bands that inspired the Florida Death Metal genre. The band is HELLWITCH who was formed in 1984 by Vocalist/Guitarist Patrick Ranieri who is the band's lone standing original member. It wasn't until 1990 that they made their first full-length debut Syzygial Miscreancy. Along with Joe "Witch" Schnessel on drums who'd stay with the band for only 2 albums, the second coming nearly 20 years later, Omnipotent Convocation. There was a 6 year gap of hiatus for the group, a thing quite common for a lot of Metal bands from the late 80's/early 90's. I think the resurgence and new found appreciation for Metal that has grown in the last decade made it a temptation for many bands lying in rest. From that same release was the addition of J.P. Brown on Guitars and would remain with the group for their newest release that came out in this summer Annihilational Intercention marking the debut of Brian Wilson on Drums as well who does an excellent job of locking in all the crazy technicality Partick and J.P. had to offer.

The HELLWITCH name has had many great talents involved as they were looking to establish themselves involving people from MALEVOLENT CREATION, DEMOLITION HAMMER, CYNIC and the late Frank Watkins of OBITUARY. The Florida Death Metal sound is quite prevalent on this record and in their sound overall which also has that Thrash crossover attitude to it as well. There's also quite a bit of technicality in the songwriting which keeps it interesting. Also interesting in its own right is Ranieri's vocal style which stands out as not being "typical", whatever that means. Whereas some Thrash and Death style vocals are straight forward abrasive and guttural and monotone at times, Pat's vocals go from high squeals to low-pitch growls displaying great flexibility with his approach, akin to styles of Bobby Blitz (OVERKILL), Zetro and Baloff of EXODUS and Sean Killian (VIO-LENCE).

Released through the French label Listenable Records, Annihilational Intersection also had the helping hand of Producer/Engineer Jeremy Staska who also manned the board on Omnipotent Convocation (2009). So the production and overall sound is really good, making everything come through really clear through your speakers. Some of my favorite tracks on here are "Hellwitch" which is more straight ahead groove and thrash whereas, and in typical HELLWITCH fashion, every song is a mix of the intense techy songwriting that makes them unique. For fans of bands like ATHEIST and REVOCATION, there's no reason HELLWITCH shouldn't be on your radar after all this time that the name has been around and the opening track "Solipsistic Immortality" should be a clear sign of how truly extreme their sound is. It's also on this song that, as I mentioned before about the Floridian Death Metal sound, you can't help but recognize some hints of Chuck Shuldiner DEATH-inspired melodies. Ranieri's solos are out of control and awesome, shredding your face on practically every song. "Anthropohagi" is another song I particularly liked, a great grinding blitzkrieg exemplifying the essence of HELLWITCH, that's over 7 minutes long.

Annihilational Intersection is 8 songs (plus an interlude) that has a lot happening that will hold your attention if you like yours techy, otherwise if HELLWITCH's haphazard style isn't your cup off tea, you may get a bit winded and lost, as most modern music listeners do with with a short attention span and lack of focus. Check out the video for the initial single of this new record, "Delegated Disruption" that gave a good glimpse into new HELLWITCH that many had been waiting for. Will this one hold you over for another 20 years til there next release, time will tell. Overall, a good effort by Ranieri and company.

4.0 Out Of 5.0

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