Hellwitch - Syzygial Miscreancy [Reissue]

Yet another criminally underrated band, Hellwitch's debut "Syzygial Miscreancy" was originally released in 1990 during thrash's final days of glory (the first time around anyway). Sadly, as with many thrash bands in the ninties, the band's aggressive brand of technical death-thrash didn't fit in with the massive wave of groove metal and grunge that was consuming the media at the time and the band called it quits in 1994. However, Hellwitch reformed in 2004 to open up for Malevolent Creation and released a new, second full-length this year ("Omnipotent Convocation") and also remastered and reissued their debut album.

"Syzygial Miscreancy", despite being an impossible title to pronounce, rips and rocks just as hard as it did almost 20 years ago. The remastering process has given the songs a massive kick up the ass, giving the album much more clarity and crispness on top of the already blindingly good songs. Hellwitch aren't really comparable to any of the other death-thrash bands that were around at the time, yet they're also incomparable to all of the technical thrash outfts too - if you have to make comparisons, think Watchtower and Coroner crossbred with Messiah and Pestilence and you're almost there. Songs like 'Sentient Trangsmography' have all the energy and aggression of Demolition Hammer, ye all the technical wizardry of Watchtower, a dangerous concoction that could've been disatrous, yet it works very well. It's not all about 'thrash thrash thrash'  either, as there are plenty of clean sections intertwined amongst the skull-rattling noise and som fantastic melodic workings. This is thinking mans metal at the extreme, and for such an old album to still leave such an impact on its listener just goes to show how great these guys are. Everyone is performing at an absolutely exhilerating level, especially singer and guitarist Patrick Ranieri who is the jewel in this albums crown.

On top of the main album - which consists of seven tracks clocking in at just under 26 minutes overall - there's an absolutely plethora of bonus tracks, twelve in all, which consist of the band's 1986 Transgressive Sentience demo, the 1987 Mordirivial Dissemination demo, the 1989 rehearsal demo (which includes a cover of Death's 'Archangel') and the title track from their very first recording, 1984's Nosferatu demo. Thats a LOT of demo material, and it's a welcome addition to an already brilliant album - though personally, I find it slightly annoying that theres four renditions of 'Nosferatu' on this disc. It's a spectacular song, but four versions? Isn't that a little much?

What else is there to say? Hellwitch's "Syzygial Miscreancy" is still as incredible as it was in 1990, and since this reissue has so much to offer to fans old and new alike theres absolutely no reason for you to miss out. I still can't pronounce that name though.

1. The Ascent
2. Nosferatu
3. Viral Exogence
4. Sentient Transmography
5. Mordirivial Dissemination
6. Pyrophoric Seizure
7. Purveyor of Fear
8. Nosferatu (Transgressive Sentience Demo)
9. Satan's Wrath (Transgressive Sentience Demo)
10. Torture Chamber (Transgressive Sentience Demo)
11. Fate At Pain's End (Transgressive Sentience Demo)
12. Degeneration (Mordirivial Dissemination Demo)
13. Nosferatu (Mordirivial Dissemination Demo)
14. Purveyor of Fear (Mordirivial Dissemination Demo)
15. Pyrophoric Seizure (Mordirivial Dissemination Demo)
16. Archangel (Rehearsal Demo)
17. Mordirivial Dissemination (Rehearsal Demo)
18. Viral Exogence (Rehearsal Demo)
19. Nosferatu (Nosferatu Demo)

Displeased Records
Reviewer: Dave Ingram Jr.
Dec 23, 2009

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