ALBUM REVIEW: SpellBook – Magic and Mischief

After releasing two albums and an EP under the Witch Hazel moniker, the York, Pennsylvania quartet has rebranded as SpellBook. Their first album under this new moniker, Magic & Mischief (Cruz Del Sur Music), doesn’t deviate too far from their established Occult Rock style. There are a multitude of Seventies Rock grooves fitted with a slight Doom crunch that is quick to recall their contemporaries in groups like Lucifer, Demon Eye, and Icarus Witch.

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Guns N’ Roses Kick Off Their North American Tour In Philadelphia

Guns N Roses. Photo credit: Katarina Benzova

Guns N’ Roses kicked off their new headlining tour last night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The legends’ set list including hits that spanned their entire career, classic cover songs, and even some surprises, including the first ever live performance of ‘Madagascar’ with Slash and Duff McKagan. Continue reading

This Is Hardcore Festival 2017 Lineup Includes Buried Alive, Shelter, Madball, Terror And More

This Is Hardcore Festival has just announced the lineup for this year’s festival, and it’s unbelievably awesome. Continue reading

Occult 45 – Human Abhorrence

Occult-45-Human-Abhorrence

Seven tracks on a 7”?! It is, of course, Grindcore, and a brutal pummel it is too. Human Abhorrence (Broken Limbs), the latest release from Philadelphia quartet Occult 45, shows very little let-up in its procession of psychotic battery; and perfectly displays the “hell is other people” ideology to which their Facebook page, in a blunt yet entertaining fashion, would have you believe they ascribe.

There are variations in sound here, however, perfectly exhibited in the frequent switches of direction and slight groove conclusion of the early ‘Tyranny Stomp’. Opening and closing tracks ‘Plaster Saint’ and ‘Death With Dignity’ evince the Doom-inflected, Hardcore-Death pounding of Xibalba, the latter track’s venomous bass and lead coda a glorious finale. This feel is assisted by the ferocious bark of John Hauser, bearing striking similarities to the Californians’ frontman Nate Robelledo and absolutely throat-ripping in the high velocity sections such as those of ‘PPFO’, which slows to a delightfully spooky, buzzing, 50s B-movie-guitar line groove. It’s a joyous carve-up, dictated by the near-perfect timing of breakdowns led by the technical savagery of drummer Jay Dost. His rolls and fills at the head of ‘Succubi’ highlight the complex fluctuations: dropping from a frenetic battery to a gloomy pensiveness and back again, all the while retaining phenomenal power.

Despite the aural violence and barely-controlled explosions of energy it’s often tough to remain enthralled by the unflinching ire of the genre; some special souls contravene the norm to follow the Napalm Death / Pig Destroyer route of showing enough invention to hold the attention. This is one to possibly add to that canon, being a varied and largely exciting offering, and suggesting that there’s plenty more to look forward to from this nasty little corner of Pennsylvania.

 

7.5/10

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PAUL QUINN