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Review: Witchaven - Totalitarian State of War
Totalitarian State of War

Label: Independent
Year released: 2009
Duration: 38:22
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black/Thrash


Review online: December 5, 2009
Reviewed by: Mike Henn
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 3/5 (60%) (10 Votes)

Every once in a while, a band comes along and just completely dominates you. You know damn well that there are better bands out there, but you just can't get over how awesome this one pet band is. Currently, Witchaven is this band for me. I'll be walking down Venom Avenue, the coolest street in all of Metaltown, and people will come up to me and ask "Hey dude have you heard the new Nile? Whaddya think of it?" and the only words that come out of my mouth are "FUCKING WITCHAVEN! YEAH FUCK YEAH YEAH! FAY! CESS! OF! DEEEEEATH!" as their heads blow backwards and skin slowly peels away from their face as a result of the power that simply reciting the lyrics musters. I find it impossible to listen to a band like Witchaven and not struggle to quell the urge to find the nearest living thing and kill it. They play with a rare power, a rare force that can command the listener to do whatever the band pleases, and they never have to even speak the command, you just do it.

Totalitarian State of War is Black/Thrash at its most primal. Witchaven is the kind of band that wakes up every morning and eats freshly ground uncooked lamb for breakfast. With the blood still dripping from their jaws they exit their doom fortress and start axe murdering the local wildlife, and soon after that they jump on their V666 Murdercycles and ride a badass wheelie all the way to the Vatican where they sacrifice one priest every day in the brazen bull. Their days climax with a blasphemous orgy complete with mutilation and vorarephilia to the soundtrack of Bestial Mockery. What I'm trying to say is that they are bloody bestial ass rape raw and carry themselves on pure, undiluted attitude. Even tracks where they aren't running on all cylinders like the mid-paced "Whispers in the Wind" completely destroy. "Circle of Shadows" and "Century of Fire" are probably the fastest outright tracks on display (and are unsurprisingly two of the best), but no track feels like a wasted spot. The production quality varies from track to track due to this actually being a compilation as opposed to a full-length album, so it can be somewhat frustrating when listening from front to back. Songs like "Black Thrash Assault" and "Circle of Shadows" sound really professional (by Black/Thrash standards) while "Screams in the Night" sounds like it was recorded on a cell phone.

Instrumentally, this really isn't all that much to write home about. There aren't insanely fast blast beats nor virtuosic guitar acrobatics, but these California bred heathens play with a fresh intensity and passion that I find sorely lacking in most Thrash based acts from the west coast. Instead of utilizing the perplexingly popular mindset of "Know what's awesome? Exodus. We should do that", they go for a mission along the lines of "Know what's awesome? Sabbat. We should try to be even better". And while they don't yet have the legacy of the Japanese Leather Thong Warriors, they play music of a similar style and equal viciousness, possibly even surpassing it at times. The way I see it, Totalitarian State of War wipes any trace of doubt away from the mind of the listener. The fact that Witchaven is still unsigned completely baffles me, as Hells Headbangers or Nuclear War Now! should definitely jump on a band of this style and quality. I believe they are bound for underground infamy based purely on the fury of the music. No frills, no gimmicks, just blasphemous, raw, neckbreaking attitude.

More about Witchaven...
Review: Terrorstorm (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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