I was bowled over by 2008's "There Will Be Blood" from Ohio's VINDICATOR. That the savageness of the thrash attack and the stick-to-the-ribs songwriting was displayed on a self-release was just as intriguing. Since the album sold 2,000 copies, it is most evident that I wasn't the only one that was buzzing about it. Heavy Artillery was one of those that was paying attention and signed the band. Following a split release with Germany's METAL WITCH called "Outbreak of Metal Vol. I" (Slaney Records) Heavy Artillery now presents VINDICATOR's sophomore full-length "The Antique Witcheries", an album on which the Ohio boys have sharpened the blades and refined the songwriting.First spins of "The Antique Witcheries" had me feeling like the brutality of the attack heard on "There Will Be Blood" had been toned down, resulting in a slight tinge of disappointment. That is, until the realization set in that it was the rawness of production on the debut that gave it that edge more so than the delivery and that "The Antique Witcheries" does in fact boast better songwriting, an evener flow, and a gelling of band chemistry. After intro piece "Gates of Inequity", the band brings it in '80s MEGADETH form with "Beneath the Guillotine", right down to vocalist Marshall Law's menacing snarl. But that represents only one piece of the VINDICATOR puzzle, as the album showcases multiple highlights of somewhat varying traditional thrash approaches, such as the precision killing of "Communal Decay", the chainsawing guitars and franticness of "Quarry Rats" and "Fear Monger" (both standing out for the chorus patterns), and a range of songs that pull in everything from SLAYER cadences/licks to D.R.I. crossover edges to twin leads and gallops, all of which blends German and Bay Area styles. As a complete album, "The Antique Witcheries" hits decisively and with lethal force track after track. As tight as it is tough, "The Antique Witcheries" is the album that will give VINDICATOR a much deserved higher level of recognition. This is thrash metal that is hard as nails and consistently well written. Terms like "retro" and "thrash revival" don't mean shit. VINDICATOR brings the metal proper and that's all that matters.
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