As strange as the name Witchsmeller Pursuivant sounds, it’s actually quite fitting. Swiped directly from the fifth episode of the first season of Rowan Atkinson’s Black Adder, the name embodies the not-so-serious nature of this Belgian troupe perfectly. Not that these tunes are nearly as silly as the Atkinson show, but with titles such as “In the Sweat of Thy Face,” “Heavy as Fuck” and “Machine Made Mary,” you know you’re not exactly in store for an evening of Bill Shakespeare, lyrically.
Soundwise, Witchsmeller Pursuivant is all about delivering elemental NWOBHM inspired iron-hearted M-E-T-A-L, and it’s being kicked down your gullet via five dudes that have actually been in the game for nearly 15-years, despite this being only their third release. The recipe: a dash of pre-Dickinson era Maiden, a dab of Angel Witch flare, a pinch of early Teutonic thrash’s rawness, loads of solid lead guitar work (my favorite element of this record) and a heaping spoonful of vocals fairly reminiscent of Albert Witchfinder. Throw it all into a bubbling cauldron and you’ve basically got a heavy metal band that’s reminiscent of a drunken Reverend Bizarre side-project doing classic metal. If that sounds like a recipe for success, you’ve got yourself a winner.
Manifest of Evil isn’t likely to blow anyone out of the water with its technicality or inventiveness, but it’s an oddly addictive little record that should appeal to those with throw-back interests who aren’t afraid to stray towards a less serious side of the metal spectrum. Crank it up as you crack a few open.