Published Apr 22, 2020Witches Hammer are underground legends in the speed metal — something of a cult classic for those in know. Those in the know increased significantly when guitarist Marco Banco played on Blasphemy's war metal blueprint, 1990's Fallen Angel of Doom...., some of which rubs off here on Damnation Is My Salvation. The debut full-length comes 36 years after the band's formation, when Banco was only 14.
The British Columbia band pays homage to speed metal with its cover art, featuring the symbol occasionally used by Canada's Banzai Records to indicate their most extreme, which this certainly is. Eponymous song "Witches Hammer" reminds of Metallica's punkier Kill 'Em All days, while other re-recordings ("Frozen God" and "Deadly Mantis") recall Slayer. When it comes to the new songs, they're even more extreme. The obvious touchstone is a band like Possessed, who lived on the bridge between thrash and death. The death metal influence is particularly pronounced on opener "Across Azeroth," though blackened vibes are extra prevalent on closer "Nine Pillars."
Banco waxes poetic on the album:
Damnation Is My Salvation is an album that illustrates our early obsession with the whole sonic aspect and visual complexion that our upbringing in the 1970s was projecting.
We wanted a piece of that pulsing organism that had its own identity. For whatever ran through our genetics, we were drawn into that panoptic: the heartbeat of innovation, the impetus for fashion, style, subjugation, musical and artistic revolution, and innovation.
This fearless presence of artistry. Punk rock with its pale cast against black leather green Mohawks and blue spiked hair. These groups that dwelled within the underground of the city, in the worst and untouchable places, flanked by the imposing distortion and vibration of heavy metal. We consider that a privilege to be growing up along this river torrent of constant originality and innovation.
Revolution through sound. Creation in style and indomitable approach.
You can experience it yourself in the player below and pre-order it via Nuclear War Now! Productions here.