The essence of this album stems from aeons before the plague of mankind befell the Earth. It precedes the emotions we feel today, you may point to hate but cold contempt would be more accurate when describing the desolation issuing forth from the speakers. Primal forces are at play here, acid storms within a perpetual hurricane where there is no “because”, there just “is.”
BLACK WITCHERY define relentlessness, “Upheaval Of Satanic Might” blasts from start to finish, a surge of basaltic debris from an asteroid strike that gives you little time to prepare for the onslaught. Familiar as you may be to the bands previous blasphemies, this album ups the ante a notch or two, refining the coldness and further eschewing emotion. Inevitably grouped with the likes of REVENGE and CONQUEROR, BLACK WITCHERY here are the most cohesive, though it’s a fine line.
The intensity is uniform throughout once the intro is put to bed. There is little in the way of relief though the band employs a simple but effective counter motif to the maelstrom of noise by playing an infernal melody (?) just a tad slower over the top of the chaos. It is sufficient to provide the minimum of distinction between tracks and works particularly well on “Heretic Death Call.” The production struggles to contain the spite that flays away like bike chains at a Mods and Rockers reunion. Lofi it is then, subterranean in fact, acting as a blackened ooze that though it doesn’t put a brake on the velocity certainly blurs the boundaries.
“Upheaval Of Satanic Might” is one of those albums you don’t listen to, you feel it virtually to the point that you are wearing it, (in the full realisation of the filth and horror contained in the fabric.) The vocals are growled with a granite disdain and are the only aspect of the album that doesn’t truly get dragged down into the rush of violence provided by the rest of the instruments. The lever that controls the drums has been pushed past where it says hyperblast and then snapped off so that there is no chance of them being pulled back to “as fast as humanly possible.” Again though evident, they are low in the mix so that you sense the battery and this puts paid to any how high can you piss contest as an irrelevance. Heavily distorted bass provides seismic torture, determined to ensure you are left with a permanent rumbling in your ears. The six strings just lay waste to everything in their path but do so in a sledgehammer blunt way, there is no panache on display whatsoever. Distortion rules in a way that ensures that the blurring of the roles dictates no instrument has primacy and you accept the whole or nothing at all.
The final track is a cover of “Ritual” by BLASPHEMY. Here BLACK WITCHERY come the closest they ever will to demonstrating that they may be enjoying themselves. Though still Black as pitch, there is a slight alleviation of the cold detachment evident elsewhere.
The word extreme gets bandied about on a frequent basis and sometimes the relativity of that descriptive loses its value. You can rest assured that this album can be stamped with a red hot branding iron searing the word deep into the scaly flesh of this band. Many may find listening to “Upheaval..” too much to endure, there is no slackening off of the pace whatsoever, however if you appreciate music without compromise that is truly infernal then this should be a fine accompaniment to the ambience of the sulphurous cave you call home. (Online November 19, 2005)