Belying a name that conjures up images of pentagrams, goat bothering and sundry other ne'erdowell practices, Melbourne's Witchgrinder actually come screaming at you out of the speakers with a beguiling mix of straight up shock metal (think W.A.S.P. attaining congress with Wednesday 13 for starters and let your imagination move on from there)
This sample-heavy industrial pounding (there's more than an odd hint of Manson) lets Travis Everett hiss, roar and whisper his way through tales of depravity and despondence, while the jackhammer rhythms never fail to bring to mind Rob Zombie (in any of his incarnations).
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It's an appealing combination, made all the more mouthwatering by the fact that Witchgrinder actually bring home the bacon when it comes to songs. All of the 'real' songs here –there are sundry links and segues amongst the twelve tracks listed– are bona fide metal stompers, replete with coruscating riffage (The Devil Calling) razor sharp, pristine soloing (Ryan Potts' work on Jack the Ripper is a real, top-drawer keeper) and hard-to-dislodge refrains (the impossibly catchy I Am Animal), sometimes all in the same song. It's hard to resist, especially at high volume, and if none of what's on offer is even remotely original the fact that it's all very, very good indeed eliminates any qualms you may have on that score.
Really, there's not a lot more here that can be said. The Demon Calling is an enthralling, exhilarating ride through forty minutes of some of the most excitingly consuming metal you'll hear all year; definitely worthy of your consideration, it's a must have in any self-respecting metal collection.