Von, Witchcraft could soundtrack your Halloween night perfectly, demonically

Von

All you heathens out there who embrace pagan and occult traditions and don’t care about rotting in hell for dressing up as Dracula, it’s Halloween and you’re super stoked. People in your office probably are dressed as ridiculous creatures, possibly annoying with you their disguise. They, too, will end up in hell. So don’t worry!

If you should feel bad for anyone, it should be the school children. They will dress up as any number of different things, go door to door seeking treats, and basically put themselves on the fast track to hell. They’re going. You can’t stop them. You know that saying that all of the caverns of hell are filled with the world’s children, which was coined just now on this site? How do you think that came to be? That’s right, by embracing Halloween and basically setting your soul free to be devoured by ghouls. I bet you feel like a real asshole now.

Yeah, I’m not serious about any of this. Obviously. But some people are. They’re lunatics and they’re scarier than some cartoon evil ever can be. So in the spirit of mocking those who fear this great holiday and hide in their little dens while the evil day passes, let’s exacerbate their worries by talking up some truly demonic, hateful music today that would sound perfect blasting through your speakers as you pass out treats to goblins and ghosts all over your town. Assuming kids still do that. Our neighborhood is barren anymore come Halloween, which is a shame because I remember growing up and basically having to fight for my life to get the best candy from the best houses.

We have two albums and bands that are perfect for today, when we think about decay and death and hell and demons. That’s not to make light of their accomplishments. If we were going to ridicule metal bands for being stupidly outrageous, we’d simply review the new KISS album. Who is responsible for the cover on that monstrosity anyway? No, instead these are two bands you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already, one being a cult legend finally offering up a full-length debut, the other a more obscure unit with a familiar name.

You may have heard the name Von before or seen their logo on a T-shirt, and their legacy in domestic black metal is as solid as they come. They’re one of the most cited, influential black metal bands ever to come out of the United States, as their pull even was felt in Norway during the second wave movement (look up the Varg/Von shirt story). The band has a two-decade run of infamy that’s damn near unparalleled by any other U.S.-based band, yet they’re only now delivering their first official full-length album “Satanic Blood” that, you guessed it, is full of blasphemies and horror.

Von was born way back in 1987, at a time when people still thought Venom and Slayer were the real demonic deals, but their reign wasn’t to be long lasting. They played shows, released some demos, and eventually dissolved in 1992, with their impact seemingly suffering due to short shelf life and minuscule catalog. But their popularity grew as their music was discovered by other bands looking to ply the same black arts, and eventually Nuclear War Now! Productions put out a compilation of the band’s work. Von — consisting of long-time member bassist/vocalist Jason “Venien” Ventura, Lord Giblete” on guitar, and Charlie Fell on drums — reunited for a live show in 2010, put out a 7-inch, and started work on an official album, which we now have courtesy of their own imprint.

The music on “Satanic Blood” is expectedly raw and lo-fi sounding, though quite doom infested as well, with short songs mashed together and the whole thing drowning your sense in evil and tyranny. Also, if you’ve followed this band’s history and are lucky enough to have the old demos, you’ll recognize these songs as many have appeared before in other forms. So yeah, it’s kind of a full-length cobbled together by assembling old pieces, but it’s cool to have stuff in one place. Actually, organized religion-basher “Jesus Stain” is relatively new, having just surfaced this year on a split with TOAD, but most of the other cuts — “Watain,” “Venien,” “Veadtuck,” “Vennt,” “Chalice of Blood” — are reworked for this album. The CD also comes with bonus cuts “Satan” and “Litanies of Von,” easily the two longest tracks on this record as over seven minutes apiece.

Von is pure evil and filth, and their music probably will be what’s playing in hell. It might even be on the soundsystem as we speak. This is an infernal, sooty collection that should satisfy those who have long tried to get their hands on these songs, and their new live actions should be damnation on a stage.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/vonblackmetal

To buy the album, go here: http://www.vonrecords.com/product/von-satanic-blood-12-x12-booklet-full-length-album-cd

For more on the label, go here: http://www.vonrecords.com/

Witchcraft

Moving on, let’s take a look at the new release from Witchcraft. Wait, what? Didn’t we already handle this a couple weeks ago. Yes and no? Different Witchcraft than the bluesy Swedish band recording for Nuclear Blast. These guys are black metal warriors from Hungary who are totally different than the retro outfit we have covered ad nauseam. They have been around since 1996, making obscure sounds and furious emanations that kicked off with a couple of demos and a split, before delivering debut full-length “Years of Blood” in 2006.

A noticeable change has taken place since the band’s last album, 2008’s “Under the Crust,” in that all the lyrics on new “Hegyek Felettem” are sung entirely in Hungarian. Being an English speaker only, I don’t have a clue what’s going on philosophically or thematically on this album, and the best I can do is guess that these songs are swimming in darkness and hate, much like their past work. The Angmar-led band (he handles vocals), that also consists of guitarist WL Rabenaas, bassist M, and drummer Knot, still is hammering out classic-sounding black metal, along the lines of the early work of Darkthrone and Immortal. The music sounds woodsy and organic, but behind all that is a blackness that is completely undeniable.

These eight cuts are fast, fairly lo-fi, and thunderous, and something really noticeable is Knot’s rat-a-tat-tat style of drumming that is like sticks smacking away at the inside of a skull. It sounds a little claustrophobic at first, but I was able to adjust. Opener “Istentelen” is fast and melodic, with blurry riffing and nice melodies buried in the chaos. “Megittam a vért” also relies on speed, but there are intricate guitar lines and grunting, groaning vocals that give the cut a meaner feel. “Arcomon gyűlölettel” should make Fenriz smile, as it sounds like something he would have conjured two decades ago; “Fekete és hideg” has more of a rock and roll vibe to it, though it’s no less heavy; while closer “Vörös köd” feels more punk rock, with Judas Priest-style guitar for good measure.

Witchcraft’s style might be hard on the ears if you’re too adjusted to the latest trend of slickly produced black metal. This is stuff for late-night basement adventures, searching through dusty old books in search of magick, and taking long sojourns into the woods. It’ll sound even better as the autumn goes on and will be perfect tonight for scaring the neighborhood kids.

For more on the band, go here: http://witchcraft.atw.hu/

To buy the album, go here: http://neverhearddistro.blogspot.hu/

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