Album Review: Wormwitch – Wolf Hex

Album Review: Wormwitch - Wolf Hex
Reviewed by CJ Claesson

Everyone's favourite black metal baron Fenriz once said in an interview about the evolution of the black metal sound: “We make bread and other people can make cake. But you grow tired of cake, so we make whole wheat bread.” One thing is for damn sure, Wormwitch also makes whole wheat bread, because it’s impossible to grow tired of them. Their solid foundation was established on their 2017 debut long-player ‘Strike Mortal Soil’ and since then they’ve perfected their brand of crust-infused black metal / black ‘n roll / blackened death metal. Their 2019 follow-up ‘Heaven Dwells Within’ reached new diabolical heights with a more distinct base in black metal and a sound reminiscent of ‘Storm Of The Light’s Bane’-era Dissection and the clinical precision of ‘Reinkaos’. In all honesty, it was the pitch bend in ‘Two Wolves’ which made me fall head over heels for this ferocious pack of wolves from the Great White North.

If you’ve been sleeping on Vancouver’s Wormwitch, it’s about time you wake up and smell the carcass. Prepare yourself for a new Canadian denim mountain attack!

‘Wolf Hex’ brings back the rawness from ‘Strike Mortal Soil’ and at the same time stands firm on the black metal base established on ‘Heaven Dwells Within’. Right after the ominous intro track ‘Lunar Maniac’, the hex overtakes me and I’m spellbound by the ferocity of the guitars and the wolves’ howl. From the get-go we’re wading through a black metal landscape mixed with grandiose melody, attention-grabbing tempo changes and quintessential anthemic features. This blend is something Wormwitch keeps on perfecting and it’s also the key ingredient for making every release so incredibly interesting and distinctly Wormwitch.’Wolf Hex’ has a strong captivating quality to it, and even though every song deserves full attention you really can’t wait for the next one to find out what extreme metal mischief they can come up with. It just never gets boring with these guys! The fourth song ‘Hammer Of The Underworld’ is a prime example of this; the down-tempo intro transcends into a blast beat inferno and just when you thought that that was it - they go into full black ‘n roll-mode and what you thought was “just” a classic ham and cheese sandwich was actually a BLT with extra mayo. Tasty. The folky number ‘The Crimson Proof’ marks the first half of the record and if this was Netflix the “Are You Still Watching?” pop-up would appear right about now and I would press “yes” so hard my knuckles would turn white.

The second half of the record starts off with the first single to be released from ‘Wolf Hex’ called ‘Abracadabra’ - and I think I’ve listened to it every day since it came out. With a cheeky grin to Metallica’s ‘Seek & Destroy’ - the song kicks off with Robin Harris’ “alright!” and what unfolds is a masterclass in infernal metal madness. Sheer barbarity is beautifully intertwined with murderous stompage and melody. Again, Wormwitch doesn’t shy away from including a plethora of metal in their songs to make one very vicious concoction. Throughout the record there is a great push and pull between the epic and the aggressive - like an auditory representation of the Rockies and East Hastings St. in their hometown Vancouver, Canada. The aggressiveness on ‘Wolf Hex’ is tangible and it’s almost noticeable in every chord stroke, drum hit and not least the vocals. That aggression mixed with outright epicness shines bright on ‘Teeth Of The Dawn’ which serves as the last original song before ending the record on a cover of ‘Hit The Lights’ by aforementioned Bay Area Thrash giants. Great cover, but I could do with one more original because I am super greedy, ha!

Going back to my (Fenriz’) bread-analogy, ‘Wolf Hex’ is certainly not cake. It’s a great big loaf of whole wheat bread, which the band continuously makes equally interesting and delicious by serving it up with the best combination of sonic cold cuts, veggies and condiments of which you will never grow tired of. After every bite you’ll be screaming for more Wormwitch “sandwitch” and they will continue to deliver.

‘Wolf Hex’ - distinctly Canadian, distinctly diabolical and distinctly Wormwitch! Out via Prostethic Records August 27th

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.