REVIEW: Witchgrinder | Haunted

Returning with their second studio album comes Melbourne metallers Witchgrinder. They’ve been such a persistent outfit in recent times that it’s hard to comprehend how they have had the time to produce such a powerful follow-up. But in the midst of numerous Australian shows and a tour run with Entombed A.D. in Japan, that is just what they have done.

Building upon the success of 2013’s The Demon Calling, the four piece offer an expanded industrial-thrash production rich with driving riffery and tormented narrative. As a whole, Haunted sees the band take a slightly more guitar orientated turn than their debut album. The guitar solo features more heavily as a means to juxtapose a great blend of tempos and to break the boundaries of light/dark interplay, typically made famous by genre stalwarts Fear Factory and Ministry. Of course, vocalist/guitarist Travis Everett, errs on the darker side in his vocal delivery touching on numerous super-natural and horror movie related themes. Sitting behind the quartet is a cleverly crafted wash of electronic programming and sampling which heightens the tension within the album in much the same way a film score ought to for a cinema goer.

Haunted begins with the creepy organ lament of Into the Sleep, a re-iteration of the way their first album opened. Rigor Mortis is the first thrash battering of the punchy LP and Everett channels the first anthemic moment of many with the chorus line “One more kiss before you decay.”

Our Nightmare is a crescendo moment for the long player, albeit residing as the fourth track of the album, it builds into a yearning melodic chorus with a vocal delivery reminiscent of Fear Factory’s work through the Archetype/Obsolete era.

Touching on the more industrial edge is the single Bloodlust and title track Haunted which are both standouts as well as Eyes to Stone, a thrash anthem which will lend itself to Witchgrinder’s energetic live performances.

At first glance Haunted might seem to cater to the witching hour enthusiast but there are many elements for fans of all heavy music to explore here with excellent musicianship on all fronts.
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Witchgrinder play the Currumbin Creek Tavern on Saturday 15 August with Azreal, The Black Swamp and Würmzer in support. Doors 8.00pm.

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