Black Witchery
Inferno of Sacred Destruction

I remember hearing Black Witchery’s Upheaval of Satanic Might for the first time and immediately thinking “Goddamn!” It was a straight ahead, unrelenting barrage of blasphemy to an almost ridiculous extent. And yet, it worked because of that all-important, yet indefinable, thing called vibe that gets the blood boiling and a scowl imprinted on one’s face for the duration.

Some traditional black metal devotees and those less than enamored with one-tempo (i.e. fast as fuck) black metal―that eschews intricacy and favors bludgeoning hate―no doubt wrote it off as one-dimensional noise. Folks either “get” Black Witchery or they don’t, which is in no way intended to be an elitist comment. It is merely an acceptance of the fact that there are three notable points along the opinion spectrum when it comes to Black Witchery: Hate on one end, love on the other, and a whole lot of nothing in between. Now, take everything I’ve just written about Upheaval of Satanic Might and apply it to Inferno of Sacred Destruction, albeit with a much stronger “Goddamn!”

In fact, my first thoughts about the announcement of a new Black Witchery album were as follows: “Oh shit, here we go!” I just knew the shit was going to hit the fan, things were going to get ugly, and [insert your own cliché phrase here] when Inferno of Sacred Destruction was made available for sadomasochistic critics everywhere (all seven of them). “Ugly” barely scratches the surface.

In all fairness, I could be reviewing a different album from a different band taking an equally one-dimensional approach to its musical form and find it repulsive seven ways from Sunday, maybe even eight. Much like, funeral doom, the “it” is either there or it isn’t. I believe the technical phrase is “It is what it is.” Plus, I can’t even begin to tell you how satisfying it is that Black Witchery maddens, annoys and terrifies certain segments of the population to such extreme degrees. Inferno of Sacred Destruction is one continuous depth-charge of impiety. The point is made by forcing through narrow openings two-to-three minute tracks of blasting and pummeling primitivism, sprinkled with brief interludes of Satanic noise pollution. Bassist Impurath really ups the intensity level with a ferocious, barking style of vocal (accented with the occasional demonic grunt) that is deeper than what we heard on Upheaval of Satanic Might.

Comparatively speaking, the approach this time around is tighter and a pinch more nuanced (remember, these are relative terms). For example, the patterns are noticeably altered, if just a touch, on the title track. Admittedly gnarly variations on the theme occur during the two-minute cover of Conqueror’s “Kingdom Against Kingdom,” including a phaser-like effect that adds a great deal to the sickening ambience. Making matters worse in the best possible sense, the production packs by far the most devastating punch of any Black Witchery album to date. It’ll make your windows rattle and cause at least one of your woofers to scream like a bitch.

As if that weren’t enough, the retail version comes with a bonus DVD that includes a live performance from a gig in Helsinki, Finland. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on it since it wasn’t included with my promotional download. Rest assured; I’ll be purchasing it from Hells Headbangers Records in the very near future.

A detailed compositional analysis of Inferno of Sacred Destruction would end up a rather damning assessment in most critical circles. But why in the hell would anyone resort to detailed compositional analysis in a review of a Black Witchery album? All you need to know is that Inferno of Sacred Destruction is about the sonic deliverance of an evil that defies comprehension. Black Witchery concerns itself with one primary one approach: The direct one. Nobody ever asks about the smoke coloration or the sonic nuances of a grenade attack. The only questions pertain to body count. The end.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
January 14th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Biff Tannen

    “it is what it is” ,exactly.

    I was pretty let down by “Upheaval….”, after the (IMO) much stronger debut, “Desecration of the Holy Kingdom”.

    This new one if fucking vicious, though. Really love it. Its probably a tad better than the debut, if only because it’s short and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

  2. Commented by: Grimulfr

    Black Witchery never overstays it’s welcome. I played this disc from sunup to sundown, interrupted only to play the back catalog. We will see what tomorrow brings, a storm is brewing.

  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    I agree Biff this is some of the best work they’ve ever done. The split with Conqueror has long been my favorite release of theirs but this might just top it…

  4. Commented by: SRK

    “It was a straight ahead, unrelenting barrage of blasphemy to an almost ridiculous extent.”

    I LOLed at the pun.

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