Patrick Ranieri from the Floridian underground metal legends HELLWITCH
Intro and interview by Luxi Lahtinen
Granted, the Floridian Death Metal scene has always been one of the most influential and known scenes globally. Bands like Deicide, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Atheist, etc. are some of the biggest names from that particular area. However, it´s kind of a shame that some bands with a more extreme edge, that also came from the same particular area at that time, never got the same kind of chance to ´hit it big´ unlike some others did – even if they deserved more recognition and attention then they actually managed to gain for themselves over the years. One of those bands undoubtedly is Hellwitch who were resurrected from the verge of break-up in 2005. The band had recorded a couple of highly popular demos in the late ´80s (TRANSGRESSIVE SENTIENCE in 1986 and MORDIRIVIAL DISEMANATION in 1987) that were massively circulated around the underground tape trading scene for many years; one full-length album SYZYGIAL MISCREANCY for Wild Rags! Records (rip-off!) in December of 1990, one mini-CD titled TERRAASYMMETRY which was released on a small Austrian label Lethal Records (another rip-off!!) in 1992, a compilation titled FINAL APPROACH, containing sort of a lifespan of 14 years of Hellwitch´s music which was also supposed to be the last Hellwitch release ever to kind of sum up the band´s long career (I´m glad it wasn´t – Luxi) – and last, but not least the 5-song demo ANTHROPOPHAGI in 1994. After that year, the band remained more or less in an ´on/off´ state for years until sometime around in February 2004 Pat Ranieri and Joe “Witch” wanted to re-establish their contact again and began to practice the old songs just for fun. When things started to become more serious, Craig rejoined on bass in April 2004. The band played their first show in 6 years on July 24th, 2004 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. with Malevolent Creation and Divine Empire. Around September 2004, J.P. Brown rejoined to Hellwitch as 2nd guitarist. That month the band also played again with Deicide.
In June 2005, the band locked themselves into the studio environment to record 4 Hellwitch songs with producer Gus Rios (Malevolent Creation / Kult Ov Azazel) – and that 4-track promotional effort was baptized by the title THE EPITOME OF DISGRACE. Talk about a nearly perfect timing, but I thought it was somewhat an ideal time to contact the true mastermind of Hellwitch, Patrick Ranieri, and to ask him about the regrouping of Hellwitch, and of course about both the past as well as naturally the future of the band…
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