This already promises to be a brilliant year for Witch Fever. After warming up for emo legends My Chemical Romance in May and presenting one of the best sets of Reading Festival 2022, which NME called “the future of heavy music”, the Manchester punk quartet now hopes to end 2022 in the only way they know. how: with a dose of deafening, roaring anger.
Their debut album “Congregation” begins with “Blessed Be Thy”, which comes to life with an explosion of boiling guitar with grunge elements. The track is named after the hymn that vocalist Amy Walpole sang at weekly services when she was growing up in a charismatic church — a branch of Christianity that worships miracles and the modern actions of the Holy Spirit. However, in the hands of Witch Fever, “Blessed be Thine” is reinterpreted as an evil battle cry against the repressive religious establishment: “Slow decline, cursed deity,” grins Walpole, who left the church at 16. “You” is stupid to think that I will choose this.
These anti-church sentiments permeate the entire album. The title track “Congregation” complains about the unhealthy grip that many parishioners have fallen into (“Taken by guilt / The whole congregation”), and “Market” is an attack on communication, replete with perverted spiritual lyrics (“Flesh and bones of the body and wine, drink it, my child”). Meanwhile, “Bloom” explores the escape from a religion that suppresses personality, and its suffocating images largely explain why Witch Fever’s music sounds like an outburst of years of pent-up rage. “They won’t take no for an answer /As if they’ll ever fucking ask,” bellows Walpole in the incendiary punk anthem “Sour,” which calls listeners to action with an insistent chant: “Yes, we incite this violence/ Nothing has ever changed. in silence.”
Combined with the exuberant energy of “Congregation”, these confrontational lyrics make the album indispensable for listening in the punk style — Witch Fever’s anger at our destroyed institutions is righteous and conveyed with confidence, feeling and vitality. But it’s not all fire and fury: Witch Fever delivers one or two beats at the end of the record, hinting at what else they have left in their sound arsenal. The aptly named “Slow Burn” may be the thinnest track on the album — it moves smoothly forward with a measured, expanding guitar sound — but it sets “12” to end the listening with one last furious, full-blooded scream.
It’s hard to imagine a future in which Witch Fever’s debut album won’t win over crowds of enthusiastic fans: “Congregation” is a fiery, ruthless punk shot that doesn’t strike at priests, patriarchy and those who abuse power from the top of our society. .
Release date: October 21
Record Label: Music for Nations