HELLWITCH, arriving upon the Florida Metal scene in October 1984, would be initiated by vocalist / guitarist Patrick Ranieri and drummer Harry Tyler. An inaugural recording session, conducted in the living room of their apartment in Gainesville, produced the 'Nosferatu' single track demo. The project expanded into a full band set up in February of 1985 with the introduction of the PRECIPICE pairing drummer Dave Silverstein, replacing Tyler, and Andy Adcock on bass guitar. That July, HELLWITCH put in its opening live show as support to Punk band ROACH MOTEL. This signalled an intensive live campaign spanning the next three years, which saw HELLWITCH sharing stages with CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, G.B.H., CORONER, DARK ANGEL, KREATOR, DEICIDE, DEATH, MORBID ANGEL, ATHEIST, AGNOSTIC FRONT, D.R.I., ANTHRAX, NUCLEAR ASSAULT and many others.
The first official demo, 'Transgressive Sentience', was recorded in January 1986, from which a remixed version of the track 'Torture Chamber' appeared on the compilation album 'Thrash Metal Attack', released by New Renaissance Records in July of 1987. The band's second studio demo, 'Mordirivial Dissemination', was released in June of 1987.
In July of 1988 Pat Raneiri relocated to Fort Lauderdale and set about constructing an all new HELLWITCH, drafting Frank Watkins on bass and Steve Rincon on drums. This trio crafted a three track rehearsal demo in March of 1989, which included a cover version of DEATH's 'Archangel'. However, Raneiri then ousted his latest set of musicians and regrouped by enrolling bassist Jesse Trevino and Joe "Witch" Schnessel on drums. That June, Flight 19 Records issued two cuts from the 'Mordirivial Dissemination' demo as a limited edition 7"EP. That August, Trevino was superseded by bassist Tommy Mouser.
October of 1989 brought about a contract with Wild Rags Rec. for the debut album 'Syzigial Miscreancy', recorded at the renowned Morrisound Studios with veteran Thrash producer Scott Burns. Released in October 1990 the album sold strongly and made a sizable impact on the international underground Metal media. In late 1990 HELLWITCH acquired Jim Nickles as a second guitarist and undertook successful tours of the East Coast, culminating in an appearance at the 'Milwaukee Metal Fest' event. In February of 1991, Jesse Trevino returned to the band, re-debuting with a short batch of dates in Texas. Further changes in 1991 found Craig Shattuck as substitute for Nickles.
In August of 1991 HELLWITCH entered Morrisound Studios once again to cut the three track mini CD 'Terraasymmetry' for Lethal Records. Schnessel left the ranks in March of 1992, returning fleetingly the following year before departing for good. With Trevino also opting out, relocating to Texas, Shattuck was switch to the bass role. The band splintered further though and by the close of the year only Pat Raneiri remained.
Pulling in drummer Joel Suarez in early 1994 HELLWITCH laid down the 'Anthropophagi' demo. In November Shattuck returned to the fold and J.P. Brown joined as second guitarist. The following year Gabe Lewandowski took over drum duties and in 1996 the band signed to Nazgul's Eyrie Productions. No end product was forthcoming though and HELLWITCH folded in 1997.
Progressive Arts Records issued the 2003 album 'Final Approach', this set adding bonus cuts of archive demos and 1998 rehearsal recordings.
The band broke a six year hiatus by playing a comeback gig at the Culture Club in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on 24th July alongside MALEVOLENT CREATION and DIVINE EMPIRE. The band for this date comprised original members vocalist / guitarist Pat Ranieri and drummer Joe Schnessel with bass player Craig Shattuck.
A former HELLWITCH drummer, Gabriel Lewandowski, would gain scene credits with NAPHOBIA, ACHERON, EQUINOX and, in May 2005, join UNHOLY GHOST. Meantime, HELLWITCH cut a new demo, re-recording the tracks 'Final Approach' and 'Epitome of Disgrace', both originally found on the 'Final Approach' set and adding new songs 'Opiatic Luminance' and 'Mythologicalies'. New on rhythm guitar would be J.P. Brown.
Thie demo would lead the band to sign a deal with spanish label Xtreem Music in February 2006 for the release of their long awaited sophomore album 'Omnipotent Convocation' whose recordings took way longer than expected during 2008/2009. In summer 2009, drummer Joe "Witch" Schnessel left the band, just at the same time as the band's debut album was being re-issued along with all their demos throuh Displeased Rec., just two months before the release of 'Omnipotent Convocation' which came out in August on Xtreem Music. This new album marks the second coming for HELLWITCH and will for sure help them to gain the recognition they've always deserved.
XM 065 CD
Technical Old School Death/Thrash
If you run a zine, webzine or you need high quality graphic stuff about the band, you can download here a .ZIP file with: Pictures, Logos and Album cover.