SEAX, BEWITCHER & HAUNT: New Wave of American Metal ??? How these three bands rise above their kind.
Posted on February 05 2020
How these three bands rise above their kind?
The speed metal mania has begun!
“Gaining the power of the smashing thunder, we are the ones who will carry the torch!” Seax boldly declare on their 2012 debut, High On Metal. The Worcester, Massachusetts quartet have been living up to their promise, evolving from a band paying homage to speed metal legends such as Exciter and Razor to a real force to be reckoned with, gaining a cult fanbase with their incessant touring and high energy live shows. While a tenure of that length is guaranteed to bring about some lineup changes, the band have only managed to improve, really hitting their stride on 2016’s Speed Metal Mania. “Speed Metal Mania,” Speed Forever,” “Nuclear Overdose,” and, of course, “Forged By Metal” continue to remain live staples for the band. Early last year, the band released their long-awaited follow-up, Fallout Rituals - perhaps their strongest effort to date. Vocalist Carmine Blades shifts almost effortlessly between a cackling midrange and falsetto wail as guitarist Hel sets the strings ablaze with a furious gusto both in his chunky palm muted riffing and wailing solos. The band sounds fuller than ever, with plenty of gang vocals and backing woah’s adding even more muscle to their sound. Tracks like the roaring “Rituals,” the reckless endangerment of “Killed By Speed,” and the nonstop nitrous of “Born To Live Fast” are sure to be new classics for the band. This is true love of speed metal, flirting just outside the realms of thrash, and Seax’s torch is burning brighter than ever.
While the band didn’t release their debut self-titled album until 2016, they’ve been kicking around since 2013, releasing a slew of demos brandishing their style of thrashy speed inspired by the forces of darkness and evil. By the time Bewitcher was released, they had it dialed in, burning through nine tracks of sinful rock and roll heavy metal fury. Thrashier than their contemporaries in Midnight without leaning quite as much on thrash as Hellripper, Bewitcher fill the gap perfectly. The anthemic “Speed Til You Bleed” is a roll call to mayhem, flying into the scummy sleaze of tracks like “Sin Is In Her Blood,” “Harlots Of Hell,” and “Hot Nights, Red Lights.” There’s a punky attitude here that’s undeniable, and Bewitcher are just getting started. Releasing their sophomore album mid-2019, Bewticher upped the evil and aggression without losing the punky edge that made their debut so infectious. A little more hardened, a little more brutal, Bewitcher are out for blood with ravishing opener “Savage Lands Of Satan,” committing sins against the devout with the catchy “Under The Witching Cross” and outrunning the devil himself with hyperspeed of “Too Fast For The Flames.” Bewitcher are on a mission from hell, so join the legion of speed or get the fuck out of the way.
From humble beginnings as a solo project of Trevor William Church not quite three years ago, Haunt have been insanely productive since their debut EP, Luminous Eyes, back in 2017. Unlike the prior two bands, Haunt rely more on heartfelt songwriting than blatant speed and aggression to deliver their message. Firmly in the traditional metal camp, Haunt rely more on melody and mid-tempo songwriting, but they still pack plenty of power into their punch. The Fresno, California band have proven to be insanely productive, quickly following up their 2018 debut album with an EP, another album, and a pair of splits last year alone. Wasting no time, Haunt kicked off 2020 with their third full-length, Mind Freeze. Taking the time-tested classic metal sounds and placing them in a modern context, there is a widespread appeal to the band that is undeniable. Tracks like “Hearts On Fire,” “Divide And Conquer,” and “Fight Or Flight” inject a bit more speed to the mix without losing the emotional weight behind the songs that made Luminous Eyes so good in the first place. The synth is a welcome addition, filling out the band’s sound in a way that keeps things fresh and ever-evolving, particularly on “Saviors Of Man.” For a band who are releasing material at an ever-increasing pace, Haunt refuse to let their songwriting grow stagnant or stale.