Hells Headbangers released the first “Spooky” split with Acid Witch and NunSlaughter in 2014. Was it spooky? I thought so, but is anything ever spooky enough for Acid Witch or NunSlaughter? Fuck no! So, this year sees the release of “Spooky Vol. II,” featuring Vaultwraith as the meat in the 7’’ Acid Witch sandwich. Fun fact: If you look hard enough, you’ll discover a Vaultwraith/NunSlaughter split called “The Devil Possessed,” but good luck finding a copy.
Horror-inspired Blackened Speed Thrash Death Metal. If that’s not a real life thing yet, I say it’s high time we christened the subgenre! And if that’s already been done, just call me late to the party. I’ve been called worse. Either way, “Spooky Vol. II” fits the bill damn well.
Acid Witch opens the cellar door with “Jenifer,” a song about a “wretched girl left all alone in this wretched world.” She gets up to all sorts of evil tomfoolery. The song features the gnarled vocal stylings of both Shagrat and Slasher Dave, presumably. Slasher Dave, of course, sounding nightmarish as ever behind the keyboard. It’s a bit of a mystery who’s playing the guitar, as it does not appear to be Mike Tuff, but whoever it is fucking rips! A great tune, and a solid opener.
Vaultwraith has more of a straightforward Blackened Death Metal sound, though their contributions here, starting with “Prophecy of the Black Spider,” have a more traditional flavor. “Bewitch & Bedevil,” in fact, could be an Angel Witch or Satan tune… if Gurge from Lord Gore were the vocalist. Perhaps a slightly less possessed Mark Riddick? It’s good shit! Vaultwraith, to be clear, was fairly new to me before hearing this split. I’m sure there are subtleties behind what they do that I’ve missed in my little critique, but the main point is they’re impressive even in small doses. Time for one of their LP’s and my ears to meet in the dark is fast approaching, I guarantee!
Acid Witch’s second track, and the EP closer, is called “Cinema Wasted,” and ho-ly shit this one’s a ripper! Short but sweet Blackened DM at its very best, “Cinema Wasted” makes you wish “Spooky Vol. II” was an LP. One gripe I’ve got is that it fades out. I fucking hate fade outs, and on a song that’s less than three minutes long? Just… why? Was the song about to get too evil, and these dude’s thought it best to save us all from certain death by fading out before the riffage got even sicker? Doubtful. Acid Witch, I love you, but fuck your fade out!
Overall, this split is great. It’s a really good time, and fits perfectly with Halloween approaching. Sometimes these seasonal releases, especially EP’s, fall short. They come off as quick money grabs, but in this case that is very much not what’s happening. Both bands contribute killer tracks, each providing an acceptable amount of putridity, and I recommend it highly.
It will be unleashed upon the world on October 31st, via Hells Headbangers.