Wormwitch – Wolf Hex (Prosthetic Records)

When you open your album with a track called Canadian Denim Mountain Attack, you clearly mean business. Stripped back, gnarly, black metal business. Crust coated and unafraid to rock the fuck out business.

Yep, Wormwitch’s third opus is a big old howlin’ wolf of a record, its fangs dripping with blood and its heart filled with rage.

The Vancouver outfit have certainly sharpened their writing since their 2017 debut, Strike Mortal Soil, but have lost none of the unbridled spirit that made that album so compelling.

And while Wolf Hex isn’t a step up per se from 2019’s excellent Heaven That Dwells Within, there’s a wildness to this record, a primal essence to its sound, that suits the quartet’s vicious attack a little better.

That said, eerie folk interludes and arboreal auras do imbue Wolf Hex with a sense of balance – The Crimson Proof, for example, provides some pine-scented solace before Abracadabra’s black ‘n’ roll onslaught – and Wormwitch have clearly given plenty of thought to the pacing and cohesion of this creation.

The highlights?

Well, The Wolves Of Ossory is a hair raising battlecharge, bringing all kinds of blackened hardcore carnage with it and the darkly melodic Leering Crystal Effigies conjures up a whirlwind of obsidian shards, echoing the spectral power of Swedish blackened death metallers Necrophobic.  

Hammer Of The Underworld, meanwhile sees the Canadians at their most menacing: guitarists Colby Hink and Kyle Tavares layering up the tension over a lurching groove, before kicking through the crypt wall and diving straight into a Motörpunk hoedown.

And the closing cover of Hetfield and co.’s Hit The Lights is a feral roar which celebrates the pure, adrenalized joy of heavy metal.

Maybe Wormwitch should have been invited to chip in to The Metallica Blacklist

Wormwitch cast a spell with Wolf Hex

Wolf Hex crackles with earth magic and glows with primordial fire.

It’s the work of a band confident in their abilities and sure of their direction.

And it has one hell of a bite.

Wormwitch Wolf Hex