CD Review
Epic Death - Witchcraft
Produced by Stephen Bogle
The Bogle Cave 2015


by Andrew C Schlett
Editor, Rivethead Magazine


Some albums take longer than others to make.  Lucky indeed is the band that, within a
year or less of forming, goes into the studio to put together a professionally produced full
length record, releases it, and gains almost immediate international fame.  Much more
common, I think, is the band that works hard and trudges away for years, seeking
exposure, seeking recognition, driven only by the dream and the pure love of the music
itself.  This is the case with Epic Death, formed in 2010 and who have spent the last five
years growing, changing, developing into the band they are today, the band which just
dropped their fantastic debut album Witchcraft.  Years ago they spoke to me of recording an
album, and now, fortunately for us all, they finally have.


This album has the potential to be a memorable break-out.  The list of bands who
have released very influential first albums is long, and comprehensive, and it is likely that
given the right PR and promotion, Epic Death’s Witchcraft could be added to that list.  It
is a genre-piece, no doubt, Epic Death works entirely within the arena of Black Metal,
perhaps venturing into Viking Metal at times, but they work it with a ferocious, hard-driving
intensity, melodic riffs and rhythms, ethereal keyboards which bring to mind images of the black mass, all overlaid upon a relentless blitzkrieg of drums.  If you don’t like Black Metal to begin with,  then Epic Death is not likely to change your mind. Then again they might. But if you do love Black Metal, this new Epic Death album will certainly remind you of why.  They have merged all the best aspects and influence of some of the leading architects of the genre into a final product that absolutely freakin’ slams.  On the surface, they sound similar to many other bands working in the Black genre, but the further you get, the more you only hear Epic Death.  This release not only
defines their sound but also chisels their name in runestones into the Annals of Metal.


The overall tone of the album is set in the first track, “Hide”, which is also the
first single and video released from the album.  The lyrical subject matter deals with the
pain of unhappiness but it is the music which draws the listener in and compels them to
listen to the entire album not only once, but likely over and over again.  It opens with a
hard-slamming double kick paving the road for lead vocalist and Guitar Vamp Dennis
Dorsett, whose guttural throaty screams blend naturally with a multi-layered, darkly
heavy sound that demonstrates the level of skillful musicianship to which this band has
raised itself.  The second track, “Vendetta” is one of the band’s oldest songs and may be
the very first Epic Death song ever released on Reverbnation, years ago.


Another old number resurrected and re-recorded for this album, and the inclusion
of which personally thrills me, is the iconic “Screams From Valhalla”.  This is a song I
have loved since the first time I heard it, and in fact it was previously included in
Rivethead Magazine’s ‘Rivethead Radio Podcast #5’, which also featured a telephone
interview with Mistress Demona, aka Becky Dorsett.  The enigmatic Becky is Dennis’
wife and plays the haunting keyboard for the band.  Truly, my affiliation with Epic Death
has been ongoing for quite a long time now, and it has been my absolute pleasure to
watch this band grow, and form itself, and re-form itself again, until they reached the
point at which they now find themselves: the very cusp of the next plateau.  Key to this
success is the genuine honesty of the Dorsetts themselves: Becky and Dennis, wonderful,
considerate people, loving grandparents, dedicated Pagans who walk the true Pagan path
– a path that merges easily with the dark complexity that is Black Metal – and who share
a passionate conviction that the music they make is right and true.


This devotion is demonstrated time and time again on this album.  From the first
licks to the last there is nothing but heavy continuity.  The songs are all different, yes, but
all essentially similar in that if one were to edit out the 2-second delay between the
tracks, Witchcraft might just play like one seriously hella-long song, with a variety of
measures and movements, but one song nevertheless.  The third track, “Dragon’s Blood”,
for example, strikes me as somewhat experimental with its constantly-changing rhythms,
choreographed vocal arrangements, and pronounced keyboard line, whereas something
like “Incantation of Epic Death”, while just as great, is also much more in line with the
parameters of accepted Black Metal.


“Eye Of The Storm”, the eighth track on the album, is another song that the casual
Epic Death fan may have already heard of.  A video was produced for this number a
couple of years ago, and it garnered something like well over 200,000 views on YouTube.
It was also widely shared around on Facebook and did quite a bit to raise the profile of
this band; a major plank in the building of the platform that led to the release of this
album and will lead to whatever comes next for them.  And of course we cannot overlook
the band’s appearance in Derek Norman’s masterful 2012 documentary film Heavy In
Houston, which spotlighted a broad spectrum of upcoming local Houston talent besides
just Epic Death, but they were included nevertheless.


The band has undergone a couple of line-up changes over the years, but the
current and best incarnation is as follows: Besides Dennis on lead guitar and vocals, and
Becky on keyboards and backup vocals, there is guitar player Nathan Chance, bass player
Justin Riddler, who used to be in Dead Trip, and very powerful skin-slammer Reece
Stanley, who is also the drummer for Dallas-based Phantom-X.  This album, very long in
the waiting but very much worth the wait, is an easy one to listen to.  It has been in my
truck deck for like two dozen spins by now and it still is, simply because I haven’t gotten
tired of it yet. I rather doubt that I ever will.


Witchcraft was recorded in the Bogle Cave, and a masterful job indeed was done
by producer Stephen Bogle.  It is slated for a December 11, 2015 release.  In the
meantime, you can find Epic Death on Facebook, on Reverbnation, YouTube, Twitter, or
pretty much any other social media you got.  Do it now, because before much longer, they
will be really easy to find but way too busy to talk to anyone.  I love it when my friends
do good!!



https://www.facebook.com/666EpicDeath/

https://www.reverbnation.com/epicdeath666

http://www.epicdeath.net/biography

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