When punk music is done wrong, it’s easy to tell. The musicianship is either not there or it’s prone to pointless, masturbatory noodling. The lyrics are ham-fisted, forcing rhymes to match cliches about bombs, systems and the streets. Worst of all is the pre-packaged allegiance to genre, where crust bands do this, emo bands do that, pop-punk bands do so-and-so, and most of them wind up committing that heinous crime without a name: genericide. Enter Witch Hunt and their newest album, Burning Bridges to Nowhere.
Simply put, this is punk done right. Here is a record from a so-called peace-punk band (or a “crust” band, if I’m to believe some fliers) with chorused guitars straight from Husker Du’s Zen Arcade, male/female melodic vocal harmonies and exploding drum blasts giving way to hooks-a-plenty. A seven-year trail of EPs on local bedroom labels and two albums on Profane Existence document a band constantly evolving, outdoing itself with every new release. Burning Bridges marks a milestone to be sure. While fans will find a familiar energy in the gallop of “Septa Death” and album opener “Blind Eyes, Blind Lives,” longtime listeners and new recruits alike will find new ground here, such as the hulking dirge of “Void”, the stop-start precision of “Sick Industry”, and the bittersweet chorus of the title-track. Avoiding “punk by numbers,” while still rooting their progression in the rich tradition of DIY hardcore punk and post-punk, Burning Bridges aims at something current. With a wide spectrum of reference pointsÑ from Rites Of Spring, Econochrist, and The Mob to Poison Idea, early Chumbawamba, and, of course, Husker DuÑ Witch Hunt has produced a thoroughly present hardcore punk album for 2009!
Formed as a three-piece in New Jersey in 2001, the group released its debut 7″ nearly a year later, followed by its first U.S. tour. Throughout 2002-2004, the band released a split 7″ (with Deathbag), and continued to tour, finally releasing its first full-length, ÉAs Priorities Decay. In 2005, the band officially relocated to Philadelphia and became a four-piece with the addition of Vince Klopfenstein on drums (original drummer Rob Fitzpatrick moving to guitar and vocals). Blood-Red States, the band’s second full-length, came out in the spring of 2006, followed by an extensive set of tours in the U.S. and Europe throughout the rest of the year and 2007, including a supporting spot with punk legends the Subhumans. The band continues to self-release and re-issue its older material, while putting all energy into the future.