Here’s a phrase I never expected to be typing in 2018: “highly enjoyable modern melodic death metal.” But I’ll be damned if that isn’t exactly what Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist Tim Kenefic’s has managed to do with Witch Hunter, the debut full-length from his one-man project Death on Fire.
I’ll pause and let that sink in for a minute.
Regular readers of this site should already be familiar with Kenefic’s music. Originally recording under the name LazerWulf, last year’s LazerWulf Demos caught the ear of our esteemed Editor-in-Chief Bryan, who said that “All-in-all, Kenefic has a good ear for melody and he’s managed to put together [an] album that is easily accessible and highly enjoyable. We’ll anxiously be awaiting a full-length release in the future.” Bryan also had the chance to talk to Kenefic earlier this year when we premiered Witch Hunter’s seething opening track “Your Lies.” Now you can stream the entire album here at the Vault ahead of its February 2 release date.
But I might be getting a bit ahead of myself here. I did make the rather bold claim that Witch Hunter is a really good melodeth album, but I’ve yet to really back that up. So how does Kenefic succeed where so many others fall short? For starters, while Witch Hunter does have the occasional tip of the hat to In Flames, he also looks well beyond the mid-90s Gothenburg scene for inspiration – this album is no fifth-generation retread of Whoracle or Colony. You’re just as likely to hear jazz fusion-influenced chord progressions, neoclassical shreds over power/thrash riffing, or even burly NWOAHM-type moments that wouldn’t have felt out of place on the most recent Lamb of God record.
More than anything, though, what you’re going to hear on Witch Hunter is rage. And it seems like that deeply personal kind of rage as well. I mean just consider the song titles: “Your Lies,” “Betrayal,” “Never See You Again.” Hopefully the album was as cathartic for Kenefic to make as it is to listen to – I certainly had less of a desire to go breaking things after listening to the album.
Witch Hunter will be available on February 2 from Death on Fire’s Bandcamp page. In the meantime, enjoy our exclusive stream of the album below.