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Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags - Hellripper’s third studio album - establishes a new threshold of excellence from these blackened thrash kings.
Inspired by the likes of old-school legends including Venom, Kreator, Sabbat [JPN] and Metallica, James McBain formed Hellripper in 2014, showcasing an electrifying brand of blackened thrash. Building on the already impressive foundations laid by their early EP and split releases, the first full-length album, ‘Coagulating Darkness’, was released in 2017 to media acclaim, with the UK’s Metal Hammer hailing Hellripper as “Scotland's King of the arcane mosh” & the band receiving notable attention throughout Europe and the US. This was followed by the ‘Black Arts & Alchemy’ EP, before an eventual deal was inked with Peaceville Records, resulting in the masterful ‘The Affair of the Poisons’, further propelling the band to the forefront of the UK metal scene.
‘Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags’ - Hellripper’s third studio album - establishes a new threshold of excellence and raises the bar further over ‘The Affair of the Poisons’, with an opus standing at the crossroads between the sound that Hellripper has become known for and a whirlwind of different influences up until now yet to be explored, resulting in James McBain’s most personal and diverse work to date. With a greatly expanded scope to the tracks, incorporating more epic and melodic blackened anthems alongside the high-speed metal attack and blistering solos, ‘Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags’ marks a new highpoint for the band.
Inspired by the landscapes and legends of the Scottish highlands, McBain explores the darker side of Scottish history & folklore - the title itself taken from a line in the Robert Burns poem, ‘Address to the Deil’ - as well as including references to clan culture (including his own) throughout the album. For example, one of the tracks (‘The Cursed Carrion Crown’) is based on the legend of ‘Sawney Bean’ and the Bean Clan (a spelling variation of “McBain'') and tells the story of a family of cannibals that lived in a cave and committed various gruesome acts.
As always, the writing and recording process was carried out by James McBain himself, with a few guests offering contributions in the form of additional vocals and instrumental parts. With recording taking place between March 2021 and June 2022, the album was also mixed by McBain, and mastered by Damian Herring at Subterranean Watchtower Studios. The suitably sinister and ominous artwork appears courtesy of Adam Burke.
1 The Nuckelavee
2 I, the Deceiver
3 Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags
4 Goat Vomit Nightmare
5 The Cursed Carrion Crown
6 The Hissing Marshes
7 Poison Womb (The Curse of the Witch)
8 Mester Stoor Worm