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Review of the Album Death As We Know It by American Thrash Metal Band Phantom Witch

Updated on July 27, 2020
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Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This mask symbolizes a part of the band's name because a phantom represents an evil kind of monster. Though this kind of mask is often used in theatrical plays as well.
This mask symbolizes a part of the band's name because a phantom represents an evil kind of monster. Though this kind of mask is often used in theatrical plays as well. | Source

Who Are Phantom Witch & Where Are They From?

Phantom Witch is a thrash metal band from Salinas, California and their debut album is called Death as We Know It. It is a very morbid album title but what is even more interesting is that we have a band that plays thrash metal and is from Central California. California's best heavy metal bands have either been from the southern portion of the state or the very northern portion of the state.


An Interesting Observation About the Vocals

Early on, I notice a sort of vocal similarity to Dave Padden. Padden of course was the lead vocalist for the Canadian thrash metal band Annihilator for many years. “Basilisk” has vocals that are even raspier than the first two songs and it really speeds up but so far, we have a modern American thrash metal band that has speed, melody, and creativity in one album. Phantom Witch came out with a mini album of the same name in August 2018 which has four tracks that are on this debut album.

A Brief Review & Analysis of the Album Death As We Know It

“In Delusion” is a song about someone who lives in misery. By nighttime, his demons somehow take shape as he aims to go after others as the madness ruins his brain and he is headed on a path of destruction. “The Enemy” is a song that has a rather interesting start as it resembles a type of modern thrash that bands such as Holy Moses did back in 2005. The song is soft, gets heavy for a brief moment before turning back into “soft mode” and presented here is a rather interesting musical approach from these American guys and this song combines slowness, melody, mid-tempo riffing and of course there is speed as well. The question that some fans may ask is are these guys better than the band Havok? I don't know enough about these guys to make that determination but what I can say is that Phantom Witch has a good mix of speed and melody for a modern American thrash band so that they can stand out among the hundreds if not thousands of thrash metal bands worldwide. “Blood on the Ice” represents maybe the heaviest, most aggressive point on this album! Get ready to be thrashed as the song says and it is time to enjoy thrash metal. There is the word “whiplash” in this song and metal fans are familiar that there is a song title of whiplash, a song that was written by Metallica as they were one of the solidifying forces in the thrash metal movement. While the approach used by Phantom Witch is certainly respectable, I will stop short of saying that this is a brilliant album because when you analyze an album of any sort in the metal genre, there are many factors to be taken into consideration. The vocals while harsh and suitable for this type of music are fast, aggressive, and not as understandable in some aspects. “Demon in Black” lyrically is similar to Judas Priest's Nightcrawler song. The song can be interpreted both literally and figuratively. There can also be times in our lives when we have these personal demons that we must shed otherwise they will stay in the depths of our minds and give us nightmares literally. “Spiderwebs” has this bass guitar setup in the start and it sounds like a Jugulator era Judas Priest song.

"Call of the Reaper"

Phantom Witch Are Not Like Most American Thrash Metal Bands

While there is good modern American thrash metal and this has been discussed before thrash metal in the United States is a notch below that of Europe in terms of the creativity and melody. I guess American thrash metal artists have mostly been focused on speed and aggression. While this second major factor is important to the development, modern thrash can only survive and prosper when there is enough musical “juice” in the songs. Through all of this, what we have here is some creative modern thrash with extremely raspy and or harsh vocals and this is a good example of what American thrash should be.

© 2020 Ara Vahanian

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