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SpellForger – Upholders of Evil

Upholders of Evil
by Gary Hernandez at 29 March 2021, 9:44 PM

In 1971, Hoyt Axton wrote and recorded “Never Been to Spain.” The chorus goes, “Well, I’ve never been to Spain, but I kind of like the music.” Well, I’ve never been to Bandung, Indonesia, but I kind of like the music. At least the Trash Metal that SPELLFORGER lays down. This foursome came together during the pandemic of 2020 and are due to release their debut EP, “Upholders of Evil,” on April 2, 2021. While their name might suggest Stoner or Psych, SPELLFORGER forges a style of Thrash that is inspired by FWBM, Blackened Thrash, and Death. “Upholders of Evil” is twenty-one minutes of aggressive but finely produced metal mayhem strewn across six brutal tracks.

Lovers of Thrash will appreciate the machine gun precision of Invoker’s guitar work. The explosive percussion attack of Lord Tchort, accompanied by the unrelenting bass performance of Horrifier, is also signature Thrash. I should point out the roughly clean vocals of Middernacht are a nice break from more guttural vocals prevalent in extreme metal today.

Continuing with the juxtaposition of Black and Thrash, the stage names seem more suitable for Pagan Black Metal than Thrash. And also, lyrically speaking, there’s no socio-political commentary going on unless it’s veiled behind the iconic Black Metal imagery of evil, sorcery, and lycanthropes . . . which, now that I write it, seems entirely plausible. But in this case, I think not. My point here is the music says Thrash, but the thematic says Black.

The title track is a short but visceral intro. Oddly, there isn’t a companion outro piece or an interlude in the middle. The result is the intro functions as that first big hill of a rollercoaster — a little breather as you climb and then unrelenting terror (or thrills) until you’re done, sagging over the side, your lungs on fire, your guts in your throat . . . and wanting more. Standout tracks are “Pestilentia,” “Lord of Possession,” and “Curse of the Lycans.” The others are solid, but if I had to pick three, desert island and all that. Actually, I would pick “Pestilentia” twice if I could. Wondering why this didn’t end up being the title of the album.

All things considered, “Upholders of Evil” is a killer of debut. I’m not too familiar with the Metal scene in Indonesia. I know there’s a bunch of volcanos and that the region is responsible for 90% of the earthquakes on the planet, but I always thought that down to geology, thermophysics, and tectonic plates and such. Little did I know it was due to the badass Metal being churned out. SPELLFORGER, Indonesian Blackened Thrash Metal. Yes.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Upholders of Evil
2. Lord of Possession
3. Metal Crusaders
4. Curse of the Lycans
5. Black Spellcrafters
6. Pestilentia
Horrifier – Bass
Lord Tchort – Drums
Invoker – Guitars
Middernacht – Vocals
Record Label: Personal Records


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Edited 18 April 2021

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