This is the third album from Canadian black metallers Wormwitch.
Wolf Hex is the 34-minute follow up to 2019’s very well-received Heaven That Dwells Within, but it’s somewhat of a different record to its predecessor. Although obviously the same band, (but with a different lineup), Wolf Hex is rawer and less-polished, and owes more to the underground scenes; it sounds loose, organic, and unforced, and the songs benefit from this approach throughout the album.
This is a thoroughly old-school record in many respects, yet it is delivered with a vibrant enthusiasm for the material that’s modern and sharp. This is the shortest album of Wormwitch’s discography. The fat and filler have been cut out completely, not that there was much of it. Wolf Hex is lean and mean, with every part of it driven towards contributing to the band’s vision of what their hybrid black metal approach should be.
Wolf Hex is nasty and visceral, but not without restraint or charisma. It’s a feral black metal embrace that encompasses elements of crust, death metal, thrash metal, heavy metal, and folk. The band combine all of these influences into a condensed, focused collection of songs. Everything is mixed together naturally and given a second wave sheen, with the end result being worth spending some time with.
Wormwitch’s blackened assault is detailed and infused with depth; although aggressive and unfriendly on the surface of it, the multitude of influences work well together to provide nuanced and infectious music. The songs are well-written and have many catchy, memorable aspects. Wormwitch keenly grasp the importance of melody, structuring, and flow, which has enabled them to piece together an album that can be enjoyed as separate tracks or as a full, immersive, holistic experience.
The album ends with a very good cover of Metallica’s Hit the Lights, which fits in well with the rest of the album and ends things on a high.
Wolf Hex is a very strong album, probably Wormwitch’s strongest. It’s a melodically-charged beast of moreish blackened aggression that doubles down on its old-school influences and presents itself as a true gem of a record.
I had high expectations for this, and have not been disappointed. Very highly recommended.
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