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Witchtrap - "Vengeance is My Name" (CD)

Witchtrap - "Vengeance is My Name" CD cover image

"Vengeance is My Name" track listing:

1. Intro
2. Winds of War
3. Damned to the Core
4. Put to Death
5. Queen of Hell
6. Venomous Breath
7. Metal
8. Vengeance Is My Name
9. Pay in Blood
10. I'll Take Your Head

Reviewed by on June 26, 2012

"From the nasally vocals to the double picking, hammer-ons and string-bending guitar play, this recording strongly resembles Destruction’s debut full length 'Infernal Overkill.'"

Trends have come and gone since metal’s definitive decade in the 1980's; however, the albums pressed during this period remain immortal for anyone who truly appreciates this underground musical form. Some metal heads and musicians try to stay current, leaving the past in the past. Others, like Colombia’s Witchtrap, can’t get away from this era’s presence. Even though the group formed in 1992 - a few years after thrash’s golden years - and did not release a full-length until 2002, they could easily be mistaken as a band from the same scene as Germany’s Big 3: Sodom, Kreator and Destruction.

After hearing a couple songs on “Vengeance Is My Name,” the band’s name alone brings to mind Destruction. Witchtrap could easily change their name to “Deathtrap,” my all-time favorite Destruction tune. From the nasally vocals to the double picking, hammer-ons and string-bending guitar play, this recording strongly resembles Destruction’s debut full length “Infernal Overkill.” Normally, an album sounding this familiar to another group will receive a lower grade for its unimaginative approach. That’s not the case with “Vengeance Is My Name” because of how well Witchtrap pulls it off. Also, this is not a ubiquitous style, so it hasn’t become watered down and contrived.

“Vengeance Is My Name” begins with a typical, yet effective melodic intro. Dreamy and brooding; it exemplifies the cliché, “The calm before the storm.” A cyclone of muffled, double-picked guitars comprises the first proper track “Winds of War.” Ringing chords build toward more catchy guitar play and sing-along-worthy chorus lines on “Damned to the Core.” The gallops and finger taps on “Put to Death” casts Burning Axe Ripper as a six-string rhythm guitar genius. On “The Queen of Hell,” the album’s best track, he settles into a slower, mystical groove akin to flying on a magic carpet.

Even if it’s a small segment of the album, “The Queen of Hell” reveals a wider array of interests than mere Teutonic thrash bands. Around the three-minute mark, Burning Axe Ripper mutes his guitar strings, resulting in a hollow, treble sound. There is a regal quality to this riff that has “Holy Diver”-like attachments. Their bio described the group as “dirty, heavy, thrash, black rock 'n' roll!” and I didn’t hear the black 'n' roll part until “Pay in Blood” at the end of the album. This track is part sleazy rock 'n' roll and part heavy metal; an ode to the old school!

“Vengeance Is My Name” is only the third full-length from Witchtrap. Although the group released several shorter recordings, this article will be the first exposure for many of our readers. If the sound of a speed-picked guitar enthralls you to bang your head, “Vengeance Is My Name” will be thy puppet master.

Highs: Echoing screams and a number of spectacular guitar tricks.

Lows: The only bad thing I can say about this album is it sounds rehashed.

Bottom line: Highly recommended for fans of mid-80's thrash metal.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)