by Andrew C Schlett
Being small sometimes has its advantages. In the NBA, a small point guard can
run circles around those big men like a rabbit zipping through a grove of trees. Horse
racing jockeys are small so to be lighter upon the animal’s back. Certainly, when stuck
out in a rainstorm, it is the midget, fortunate fellow, who is the last to get wet. If you’re
making music, though, like love, you really don’t want small, you want big. You want
large and full, rather than elfin and puny. In this, Owl Witch succeeds with ease, offering
up both a large sound and a lot of substance for a two-song demo. It is straight-up thrash
in the finest traditions of the genre, but the overall tone of this band’s music is above the
norm, their technical musicianship is superb, and their presentation is very loud. This is
an exciting demo to listen to; these guys are pretty heavy.
The first song, ‘Battle Will Be’, opens with a crash and sustained thunder and
catches you with its many hooks and melodic guitar licks long before frontman Ryan
Salazar even starts bringing his Paul Baloff-like vocals to bear. Indeed, if you didn’t
know this was Owl Witch you might think at first that it was some old unreleased Exodus
material, which is not the worst comparison to have if you’re a thrash band. The pickin’
is fast, the rhythms solid and hard, the breaks and changes are all dead on to produce a
music that you can’t help but be carried along by, banging your head the whole way.
‘Wolf Chapel’ is next, and brings the same thrash intensity of the first song. The
heavy chords and fast stringwork provided by dual guitarists Salazar and David Rivera is
well supported by Angel Martinez’ thumping heavy bass-line and anchored in drum work
that is as fast and complex as anything else out there. The drums on this demo were done
by Brian Howk, but he’s no longer with the band. Trust me, though, their new drummer,
‘Mad’ Mike Del Monte has taken over the skins with no problem and the slammin’ beats
do not suffer at all for the substitution.
There is nothing small about this demo release, either in sound or in substance.
Both songs, oddly enough, are exactly three minutes and forty-six seconds, and I don’t
know if that’s just a coincidence or not. Either way, though, it totals to over seven
minutes of good, pure-hearted thrash that really is pretty easy to listen to. I suspect that
next time, when it rains, Owl Witch may be amongst the first to get wet. Even Angel!
Owl Witch is a four-piece now playing with increasing frequency in and around
the Houston area, and if you get the chance to see them out live now, before they become
huge and totally inaccessible, one day you’ll consider yourself lucky for that. They can
be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OwlWitchMilitia and they’re also
active on Reverbnation. Just search Owl Witch. Tell ‘em Rivethead sent ya!
Because The Music Matters!!!
1) Battle Will Be
2) Wolf Chapel