Sign of Evil – Psychodelic Horror (2020)REVIEW

Inspired by the cryptic psychedelia of 80’s Italian heavy metal, the rabid thump of metalpunk, and the horror of ancient n’ esoteric black metal Santiago, Chile-based musician Camilio Pierattini aka Witchfucker sounds a man possessed on his latest solo project, Sign of Evil. Pierattini is probably best known as one half of inspired black/thrashers Invocation Spells who’ve been increasingly maniacal with each successive release, as well as thrashers Dekapited — This first bout of fire from his latest project finds him snapping into a murderous bout of insanity. There is the sense that all things align by way of auld speed metal here, allowing the artist’s maniac spirit to become feral and heavily influencing his approach to guitar work and heavy use of guitar effects. The first demo from Sign of Evil, ‘Psychodelic Horror‘, is a particularly modern sub-genre circle crafted in the spirit of the old ways and made ruthless fire by way of psychotropic obsidian altitudes applied.

Violent ancient energy alone is enough to carry this 12 minute demo tape far, the speed and roaring fury of Witchfucker is infamous at this point and now appears all the more a part of his personality as a musician. In terms of the aesthetics and style it almost sounds like he’d been experimenting with guitar/studio effects and nothing was extreme enough so every knob ended up twisted to ten. Of course a true underground metal artist isn’t going to go to modern goth groups for inspiration and instead the mention of 80’s horror rock, such as Paul Chain‘s legacy is echoed in certain aspects of the atmospheric values but most clearly in the album art. The actual music style is first wave black metal with massive influence from post-punk for guitar sound but everything is taken to such an extreme it ends up closer to a group like Devil Master or Hexenbrett by way of ‘The 7th Day of Doom‘. With that said, these are 1-2 minute punkish songs that get into a hook fast and wobble around in a drunken, hellish rage recalling the best of G.I.S.M. or Syphilitic Vaginas with a big hairy bass guitar sound that’ll remind folks of early Flipper more than any metal equivalent I could think of.

Bass-driven and punkish but with with wailing effects-soaked guitar lines applied, there is hardly a chance for more than sharp structural ‘hook’ and the quirk of the guitar sound to define the listening experience. Some of the darting guitar riffs are very memorable but with the chorus so cranked on the guitars ‘Psychodelic Horror’ becomes an intoxicating, manic blur, drunken as it is wondrously focused. Witchfucker‘s rasps are inhuman, the pace is bounding and evil punkish speed metal at heart but it is the collage of sound created that is remarkable not so much the compositions just yet. The biting NWOBHM-esque riffs of “Force to Eternity” set next to a wailing and incessant chorus-puking guitar work so well because they only pair together for a minutes worth of impact. The rush of ‘Psychodelic Horror’ comes by way of that brevity where each moment has such impact because you’re not given the chance to latch onto it for more than a punk’s twisted minute. Hell, it might’ve only been 12 minutes long but I’d often leave this demo on repeat for a full hour or two and let it all meld together into one big erratic freakout.

As a first gasp from a new project it is addictive and fantastically unhinged stuff. I’m not sure I’d ever want a 45 minute record of this stuff but if a variety of pacing and thematic atmosphere was applied Sign of Evil could easily be there. I can definitely recommend ‘Psychodelic Horror’ but with the caveat that you should give it a whirl to see if you can handle it at all, as this might be wildly psychedelic and punkish in execution but there isn’t any great analogue for exactly how satisfyingly impractical and extreme it is. High recommendation.

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Artist Sign of Evil
Type Demo
Released March 12, 2020
BUY & LISTEN on Caligari Records’ Bandcamp [Cassette/Digital]

BUY & LISTEN on Edged Circle Productions’ Bandcamp [12″ Vinyl LP/Digital]

Follow Sign of Evil on Facebook
Genre Psychedelic Black/Speed Metalpunk

High recommendation. 4.0/5.0

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