Supersonic Speed Metal Courtesy of Bewitcher’s “Too Fast For The Flames” EP

Oregon’s Bewitcher are releasing a 7” EP in support of their upcoming sophomore full-length. While the album’s release date is to be determined, Too Fast for the Flames will surely keep your speed metal thirst quenched until the band’s next offering.

We’ve been seeing a lot of speed and heavy metal floating around these parts as of late. While the two subgenres certainly operate with different styles, they are certainly interlinked both stylistically and within their retro ‘80s vibes. Just looking at this year alone, we saw Toronto’s Chainbreaker come out with Lethal Desire, Calgary’s Traveler with their self-titled debut, and the epitome of all heavy metal compilations, Temple of Mystery Records’ Trapped Under Ice, which hosted songs from a slew of Canadian heavy metal bands.

Heavy metal from the great white North is certainly hot right now, so let’s see how the Americans compare. Operating out of Oregon, Bewitcher actually have their own contenders to worry about over there. We all know that the state’s scene has been a hotbed for knuckle-dragging death metal as of late, with bands like Grave Dust, Torture Rack, and Witch Vomit smashing skulls all over the region. While the much more primitive sonics of death metal may be king over there, that certainly isn’t stopping our heroic trio from going back to the genre’s roots.

Bewitcher have a handful of demos and a debut full-length under their belt, and the Too Fast For The Flames EP serves as a precursor to their upcoming sophomore release. In unorthodox fashion, the announcement of a single is not tied to any revealing information regarding the album, as that chapter of Bewitcher’s history is left in the dark. What is confirmed is that Too Fast For The Flames includes two songs, one of which is an original title track, and the other being a cover of W.A.S.P’s “Show No Mercy.” While the press release isn’t 100% clear on the song’s nature, I believe that it will be included within the upcoming full length, although it is not still certain whether or not “Too Fast For The Flames” will be the album’s title. Regardless, let’s take a look at the EP and its constituents.

Well, there isn’t really that much to look at here, as one of the tracks is a cover. The original number is short, clocking in at just over three minutes in length, however the song makes good use of its time. “Too Fast For The Flames” operates exactly as the title describes, as it is indeed too fast for the flames. Although, flames aren’t exactly what comes to mind when thinking about “speed,” but the title works, I guess.

I got off track. The song is a blazing number for a speed metal track, which sounds stupid at first, but speed metal isn’t actually usually that fast. The opening riff is borderline thrash, but the ‘80s vibe and lyrical themes really do scream “speed metal.” The song also has a fairly standard song format, with a chorus that repeats the song title and a lead guitar solo three-quarters of the way through. The most redeeming quality lies within the vocalist’s signature style, as he bends his vocal chords, straddling the line between clean singing and a painful rasp. He actually ends up offering a decent scream in part of the instrumental buildup to the guitar solo, which is probably my favourite portion of the song.

The release’s nature is certainly quite odd. I’ve never really seen a single that was in support of a full-length without the album being announced alongside it. Furthermore, Too Fast For The Flames is being promoted as a 7” record, so fans are expected to collect physical copies of the EP as well as the full-length when it inevitably comes out? Wouldn’t you then just always listen to the album then? I mean, there’s a possibility that the original song isn’t on the new album, but then the band would have just released this EP as a lone output to remind their fans that Bewitcher is indeed still alive and kicking. I don’t know, only time will tell, I guess.

That’s it, folks. We seem to have another potentially strong speed metal album coming up within the foreseeable future. Traditional speed metal seems to be moving away from its, well, traditional roots, and its pool of artists seem to be veering towards the black/speed subgenre, which I’m perfectly fine with. “Too Fast For The Flames” is a great song, but it loses points because of its title and also because of its weird release timing/format. Keep an eye out for these freaks, though.

Verdict: 7.8/10

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