The time that too many cooks made the dish better
Today take a look at an album that is slightly obscure but amazingly good. A small band from Melbourne, Victoria in Australia, they are extremely underated so lets shed some light on Witchgrinder’s second album; Haunted
Let me start this out by telling a short story. In 2016, at some point, I went shopping for CD’s because there were sales on. Right at the very back of the Metal section, in the corner and covered with dust I found this album. The cashier told me that nobody had even bothered looking at it in months so she gave me a $4 discount which brought this down to only $8. I decided that $8 was a good deal and bought it having never heard any of their other songs.
The intro track, ‘Into the sleep’ is a semi-long instrumental that had me feeling slightly annoyed as I thought that I had perhaps just purchased a symphonic album. In hindsight the screaming and crying should have probably tipped me off that this was going to be a Rob Zombie inspired, horror style, Industrial Metal album. The song is not overly great in my opinion but it’s worth listening to every time you play the album just because it adds impact to the actual first track (which annoyingly is now the second track due to this intro being track 1).
‘Rigor Mortis,’ the 2nd track, starts out strong right away. It’s aggressive for Industrial Metal, leaning more towards the Thrash Metal side of music. Like most Industrial, it changes its tempo predictably in patterns, and shifts styles in and out of the song constantly. At the points where the chorus is going is a really cool synthesizer, and the guitar solo is, forgive me for using this word; Epic. The music is very fast but the song is semi-long at 4 minutes. The only bad thing about this song is that it’s so good that it feels like it ends a lot faster than it actually does.
The self titled 3rd track ‘Haunted’ has an odd sounding intro tune that transitions into a heavier version of said tune. The vocals on this song sound a little bit darker and mysterious outside of the chorus. Musically, this sounds a little bit like early Rammstein to me. It feels a little boring compared to ‘Rigor Mortis’ but it does have a nice guitar solo to make up for it and the chanting of, “Haunted” near the end is also pretty damn cool.
‘Our Nightmare,’ the 4th track, is probably tied with ‘Bloodlust’ for their most well known songs. But in my opinion, being a well known song does not necessarily make it a good song. Personally, the only part I like about this song is the chorus; other than that its pretty plain and doesn’t leave any sort of impact or an impression of any kind for me.
The 5th track, ‘The Butcher’ is only marginally better. It has a uniform tune to it, and a vocal style that speeds up and slows down at all the wrong times. The mix for this is horrible with the drums all but forgotten and barely even in the background for most of the song, while somehow, the cymbals on this song manage to be in your ears almost the entire time for some reason. I don’t really have much to say about this song other than; Disappointing.
‘Bloodlust,’ the 6th track, does redeem a few of the mistakes on this album however. It has a very calm beginning that gives some build up to the next part of the intro, after which an amazing solo takes off at the start of the song with some sounds that are almost like a banshee wailing in a tunnel. The vocals are calm and quiet at the start, but quickly pick up again and again. It has an oddly paced chorus, but odd pacing aside, it is a very well constructed song. Like most of Witchgrinder’s stuff it has a bit of a ghastly vibe to it and feels like a song that would be in a horror film, but this feels like the special song they reserve for either the main theme of the movie or the part of the credits where they always put the coolest song (Seriously am I the only one who’s noticed that with movies and credits?).
The 7th track, ‘Voices’ is an unremarkable instrumental that can pretty much be ignored. It adds little to nothing to the album and is just a waste of space on an otherwise amazing disc.
‘When Devils speak,’ the 8th track, is my favourite song on the whole album. It has a very catchy nature about the whole song, and really emphasizes the focus on the chorus and the drums throughout the whole thing. The synthesizer does sound a little bit strange to me but the weird vibe it adds to the whole song is welcome and oddly enough fits quite well. The song does get a little repetitive, and the ending is a little bad in my opinion, but other than that, a very stand out track that escalates this album to new heights.
The 9th song, ‘Eyes to stone’ sounds a little badly mixed, which is especially noticeable at the beginning, but it gets really obvious the more you listen to it. This is a HUGE shame, because if not for the terrible mixing, this would be my favourite song on the album. Like a lot of their music it feels like an odd blend between Rammstein, and usually a Thrash Metal band like Metallica or Slayer, but on this one it also has a little bit of a Nine Inch Nails feel to me. Powerful track and very catchy but a damn shame on the mix.
The second to last song for this album, ‘The Horseman’s curse’ suffers much the same way from what sounds like poor mixing. Which isn’t really saying much seeing how overall it is kind of just boring song. It isn’t terribly boring, but compared to the rest of the album, it’s also really not super impressive. It lacks the impact of the rest of the album and just feels like it’s missing something through the whole song. It does have a few catchy moments but not enough to redeem it from the curse of boredom.
The final song, ‘Rollcall of the Reaper’ starts out with a bit of an electronic intro that cascades into a very simple yet alluring tune. This goes on for a while until the whispers begin and add some atmosphere to the song. The slow and broody sound continues for a bit and goes back to the simple tune, which then speeds up and gets some screaming in the background which I’m not entirely sure if I think fits here or not. A pretty decent instrumental track although a little too repetitive for my liking considering at some points it just sounds copy/pasted.
Overall I would give this a 7/10. For an album that had never heard before buying I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this and I was very glad that I discovered a new band through a blind purchase
Thoughts? Discuss down below!
Give it a listen yourself ↓