I’m venturing into familiar territory here, particularly because each band had an album out not too long ago and here they both are again with a new album at damn near the same time. The reason the two albums are piggybacking each other in this review is because there is rampant speculation both are one and the same with members, and I’m leaning on the side of this being true (and if you have verified this, then you are the bearer of a fact that I am not). While both bands offer a raging menagerie of fiendish blackdeath insanity, there is enough of a difference to warrant to separate products being named. Which is good and ideal, unlike so many metal bands that do a complete 180 and have the audacity to market pigeon burgers as Grade A beef. But before I one again digress, without further adieu, here is a nutshell review of each.
WAR OF ALL AGAINST ALL
Diocletian can be seen as the darker, uglier creation of the two. Rough production and tinny atmosphere are on today’s menu. They also sport more of a penchant for bass-heavy doom this time around than on the previous album “Doom Cult”. Basement-quality sound is always something I am drawn to, and if a band can pack enough brutal force and somewhat make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up at the same time, then they are doing something right. Diocletian are indeed as ruthless as before and as mean-spirited as many other bands on Earth. The only drawback to this album is the last track “Fortress of the Unconquerable” that clocks in at over 16 minutes and spends about three-fourths of that time after the metal assault has ceased droning into nerve-wracking distortion and feedback that makes you want to bang your head against a wall. It could be chopped in half the length and I think all would still be good in the world. It’s still a minor gripe on an otherwise grandiose release.
Witchrist is a tad more polished yet still dangerously malevolent and delves into a bit more of the thrashier side of things than their “counterparts”. Good ol’ puke-up-your-guts vocals and blazing fast riffs give you a fist in the face that you’ll be sure to appreciate. Eight tracks at just under 40 minutes keep the torture to a length that’s just perfect and never strays into Wussville. I found both of Witchrist’s full-lengths to be some of the best blackthrash I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in recent memory, and believe me, that scene is one hell of a cesspool you need to wade through to find much of merit! Luckily, some still know that keeping it raw and primitive is the way to go instead some fun mosh pit-centric foolishness.
So with this one-two punch of New Zealand nastiness upon us, you have more to explore among some of today’s finest underground acts. Once you’ve taken the plunge, it’s something you’ll return to time and time again. Hell has never sounding this good and this tempting. Do yourself a favor and get both albums at the same time, then pat yourself on the back. (FA)