Review – UA: WC016

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  • Bio: Not available
  • Label: Witchcult Records
  • Release Date: August 11th, 2018
  • Genre: Black Metal, Raw Black Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Witchcult Records in one of the few deeply underground labels I genuinely trust and keep a close eye on. I may not have much of their catalogue, but the cassette only group has yet to really steer me in the wrong direction. So, when Bandcamp shot out the notification of their latest release, a five song tape from UA (which I assume means Unknown Artist) titled WC016 (which is the label code for this particular release), checking it out was a no brainer. No information on the group could be found on the store front, metal-archives, or even Google. with no idea who this entity is beyond it being a raw black metal outfit, the payment waw sent for one of the few physical pressings available without hearing more than a small snippet. But, in hindsight, was it a worthy purchase, or is this insanely obscure piece of metal history better left a hidden legend?

At the time of writing this, the only version accessible in the digital download that accompanied the physical purchase. The stream is a single streaming track that runs nearly fifteen minutes in length, housing all five tracks that make up the release. While not the actual cassette, even this version still retains that analog presence and raw, intimidating aura. The audio is very low in the mix, perhaps taking influence from lo-fi legends Havohej. The insanely muffled sounding output comes off like something recorded at a live show and replicated to the fifth or sixth generation on tape. It’s clear there’s a solid production behind it, but the grainy audio helps make the effort sound far more sinister and haunting from the cold instrumental introduction until the visceral bitter end.

It’s kind of hard to really talk about this release without any real information available, track list, or general idea of what the band’s lyrical content or inspirations towards it and the music are. However, the mystery greatly adds to the allure here. That muffled mastering turns the music into something one might hear coming from afar, hitting the listener with blunt and weathered music you can just discern among the wind that is the echoing vocals that can sound absolutely primal at times, such as around the seven minute mark (which I believe is the end of the third track). This all comes together to weave a nightmarish experience that leaves you feeling like you just happened upon a recording that should never be listened to, kind of the vinyl LP in the horror film The Gate, especially when the pace picks up to its most violent of outbursts for the last two songs.

Given how dirty and distant WC016 is, there’s no denying this won’t exactly spark the intrigue of your casual black metal fan. UA‘s first release through Witchcult Records (and perhaps the debut outing of?) is a nice return to the glory days of the eighties. Back when the internet didn’t exist, analog was top of the line, and metal was in its infancy and looked upon as the work of Satan, a role this five-track tape fits snuggly into. If you enjoy frightful melodies and haunting performances, WC016 is something well worth looking into, even if you can’t get your hands on the physical edition.

Digital review copy of this release provided by personal funds.