Witchmaster / Voidhanger – Razing The Shrines Of Optimism (Split)

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Label: Third Eye Temple 

Sometimes, all you want from your blackened thrash is savagery and pure devastation. The new split between Polish bands Witchmaster and Voidhanger, Razing The Shrines Of Optimism, is perfectly suited for such times. This is a burst of pure Satanic rage and misanthropy, that sees both bands return with superb results. At just under a half hour, it’s pretty much the perfect length for a split of this nature, and is sure to satisfy fans of blackened thrash acts such as Aura Noir.

Witchmaster take the first side, opening with new track “Permafrost”. Propelled along by punishing double-bass and razor-sharp riffs all played at the fastest of tempos, it’s a fine example of blackened thrash at its most straight-forward and devastating. It’s not a style that demands complexity in order to succeed, and this track is evidence of this; its power and intensity is more than enough to trample any doubters beneath its heel, whilst those already converted to the joys of blackened thrash will lap it up. Second track “Tanz Debil” is more adventurous, being an Einsturzende Neubauten cover, and its combination of blackened thrash nihilism with industrial stomp is surprisingly successful, albeit in a slightly different way to “Permafrost”. Witchmaster finish their side of the split off with a live recording of three songs, “Tormentor Infernal”, “Morbid Death,” and “Satanic Metal Attack”, all from their Violence And Blasphemy debut album. The sound quality isn’t too bad for a live recording, though the drums do dominate the mix; even so, they’re a devastating triumvirate of songs, and a demonstration that the band are even more relentless live than on record – which is exactly as you’d hope would be the case. I’d have preferred another studio offering, but it’s not too big of a complaint.

Voidhanger also offer up three songs, though theirs are all new tracks that are arguably their most crushing to date. There’s a bit of a blackened death feel at points, as during the feedback-infused pause of “Burnout Hearts Exhibition”, and more than a hint of Celtic Frost-esque groove, but blackened thrash is still the main order of the day. These three tracks absolutely race by, driven forward by such intense hate and nihilism that it makes previous album Working Class Misanthropy seem almost tame (which it definitely isn’t!). It is an utterly breathless thirteen minutes, an example of blackened thrash at its absolute very best, and it makes you wonder why more people aren’t talking about Voidhanger as being among the best bands the style has to offer. Absolutely stunning stuff, and I can’t wait to hear their next full-length.

Razing The Shrines Of Optimism is set for release in December 2016, with 400 “regular” vinyl and 100 coloured vinyl being released, both in gatefold sleeves. At the time of writing, no other formats are planned for release. Follow Third Eye Temple on Facebook for pre-order information as it is confirmed.

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