Witchtrap - Sorceress Bitch - (8/10)
Published on February 12, 2017
Colombia, 2002: talks between then-President Pastrana and the FARC ‘rebels’ fail; the war in the south of the country intensifies; Alvaro Uribe is sworn in as President moments after explosions kill twenty in the capital. It seems fitting that, during such tumultuous times, an album reeking in all the blackened ugliness we have come to love from the South American metal scene is let loose to purge the land with its own brand of evil. A decade and a half later, Hells Headbangers Records have finally given Witchtrap’s gloriously filthy debut Sorceress Bitch the rerelease we have all needed, and it is still as relevant as ever.
That is not to say Sorceress Bitch is reactionary of the events that unfolded – the material here had been around since at least ‘98s Turn In Your Grave demo (the same year Pastrana took up the presidency and begun talks with FARC) and this is in no way a politically-tinged thrash assault. What we have instead is SA-blackened speed-by-numbers: Witchtrap wear their early Teutonic influences proudly on their sleeves as heard in the menacing lick in ‘Black Angel’ and the ferocious ‘Ripping Torment’. Evil, Satan, and witchcraft are the order of the day and B.A. Ripper spits his way through each song as if channelling some sickeningly gnarly ghoul from another realm. Primitive are the riffs and drum sound, and filthy enough to raise the dead!
Even if this rerelease from HHR seems to polish the sound quality to fit their more recent release, ‘15s Trap the Witch, it does nothing to detract from the album’s original appeal – this is still as dirty as when it was first released. From start to finish Sorceress Bitch encircles the salivating listener with a rabid assault of neck-snapping speed with the exception of the funky yet mid-paced ‘Dead of the Night’ and the ‘Gypsy Ritual’ segment of track five enables the necrofiend to gasp for air before ‘Face the Evil’ drags them back into the soil with some very cool rhythms setting it aside from the rest of the album. And whilst the pre-chorus to ‘Total Sacrifice (Violent Force)’ sounds like something from ’87, the title track’s ravaging onslaught feels as if it has escaped from Fenriz’s dungeons!
As far as this style goes, it’s as evil as it gets. And whilst this may not possess the Armageddon-esque production of ‘00s Witching Metal, Sorceress Bitch is nonetheless an important milestone for South American metal – along with Acutor’s ’98 slab of blackened fury Dios ha Muerto, Witchtrap’s first full length outing helped place Colombia on the map alongside with otherwise more popular counterparts from Brazil. And as their country re-entered conflict, B.A. Ripper and co waged their own Metal War. Anyone worth their salt would do right by picking up this long-awaited, and most necessary, rerelease courtesy of the good guys at HHR.