In recent weeks, Nine Circles readers checked out my round-up consisting of three Nuclear War Now Productions! releases. The latest record from the vaunted underground label comes from a familiar name to fans of underground war/bestial black/death. The band is none other than Bestial Raids and their latest full-length album is called Master Satan’s Witchery.
Sometimes slow, with catchy riffery straight out of a warzone, Bestial Raids’ Master Satan’s Witchery features musicianship superior to typical all-out blasting war, black/death metal. The sub-genre is represented by a small elite group of practitioners. Bands that fail to do wonders within the sub-genre typically fade into obscurity as quickly as they come. Bestial Raids has been a part of the scene for several years and this latest release shows a maturity to their songwriting few practitioners of the sub-genre are able to accomplish just as effectively. The riffs morph as the songs breathe, and the blast sections are tempered with several transitions, keeping the music from going stale, which is typical in blast and stop or all-out blast style albums.
One major facet of Bestial Raids’ music is the production on the drums. The fill-ins are audible and the tom toms echo nicely. The recording and production on Master Satan’s Witchery is perfectly suitable to the band’s style. The changes in tempo and transitions make this an above-standard album in comparison to staples of the genre. No surprises here, except the effective production values given the drums, besides the free-flowing, carefully-rendered song structure used here. They transition from one section of face-ripping riffs to slower sections with catchy chord progressions. Justifiably so, ambient music is absent here, but that doesn’t eliminate the atmosphere of smoke and burning flesh that seems to stem from cities ravaged by war that their music depicts so well. The music is a soundtrack to all-out destruction, and from first note to last, the music is dark, sinister, and primal. The song structure saves the album from sounding as one-dimensional as some releases in the genre, as the band frequently transitions throughout songs, morphing , evolving structurally so that the album never gets boring.
Bestial Raids does a commendable job sustaining the listener’s interest throughout Master Satan’s Witchery. Some bands fiddle with EPs all their careers, with music that is enjoyable simply for the quality bereft of great quantity. It’s no easy feat to produce a full-length album’s worth of intense, violent music and please the listener enough to relish playing the albums for hours on-end. With hype for bands in NWN! Productions roster as inadequate as ever, Bestial Raids will have a difficult time finding an audience in the current musical climate. That in itself is tragic, but true in every sense of the word. This is not meant for casual metal fans who think that extreme metal goes too far. Neither is it fitting for seasoned metallers who prioritize melodically-driven music.
Extreme music for fans of extreme underground metal, Bestial Raids’ Master Satan’s Witchery fulfills every expectation of a Nuclear War Now! Productions release, and more than ever, writers must cover quality music like this in these times of scarcity and need. Can we simply let a sub-genre unique for its intensity and portrayal of violence erode into the annals of history? You make that call, dear reader. Support this rarefied style of music today.
– Al Necro