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Hellwitch: Final Approach

There's a great distance between 1984, when Hellwitch recorded their first demo (you can hear the original version of "Nosferatu" here, replete with seat cushion and textbook drums) and 1998 when they took what might have been their last breath, not that you'd know it from listening to the tracks on this 19-song retrospective. Formed at a time when metal was becoming increasingly adventurous and drifting farther and farther from its near-the-mainstream roots, Hellwitch never really achieved the same success as other Florida bands. They only released one full-length album (1990's Syzgial Miscreancy ) and an EP (1992's Terraasymmetry) and didn't have the kind of image that carried the likes of Deicide, Morbid Angel and Nasty Savage outside the Sunshine State. But they were appreciated by live audiences and respected by a strong number of their peers, enough to warrant this second glimpse at the band.

While they veered between technical/progressive metal ("Mordirivial Dissemination") and primal rock (the White Zombie-ish "Satan's Wrath"), they never lost sight of the unbridled energy that made them who they were. The 1998 demo "Final Approach" has, at its core, the same energy and innocence-cum-pride that marked their first demo some 14 years earlier. While some have argued that the band didn't always possess the tightness it takes to make convincing thrash/death metal, the occasionally looseness that invades some of the tracks here is part of the Hellwitch charm.

On the whole, Final Approach is great for those seeking out the roots of American death metal, searching for that one missing link between early Metallica and Morbid Angel.

Added: November 27th 2003
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 4445
Language: english

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