If you’re at all into Swedish metal, the line-up of Witchery has someone you’ve listened to before. Patrik Jensen from The Haunted? Martin Axenrot from Opeth and Bloodbath? Sharlee D’Angelo from Arch Enemy and Spiritual Beggars? Man, it’s an all-star cast! So with all this talent, the 5th studio album, ‘Witchkrieg’, should be something totally badass and incredible, right? Well, you’ll have to read after the jump to find out.
The album starts off with the title track, ‘Witchkrieg’. It’s thrash metal to the core that also has the air of being an arena rocker. The energy is high, the solo fast and frantic and the drumming tight and aggressive. The production is tight with some clever little effects thrown in to add some spice. It’s a fitting opener that lays the groundwork of what’s to come.
The production of ‘Witchkrieg’ is overall very solid. The drums are tight and focused, the bass provides a pleasant low end that does not create any muddiness, and the vocals can be deciphered with relative ease, although the volume difference between the deep, guttural growls and the higher pitched snarls is definitely off with the growls winning. Also, the guitars, as articulate as they are have a bit too much fizz to them for my taste: I would’ve preferred something a bit more thick for this type of album. However, considering that with this album I can easily see Witchery be a direct opener for Slayer, perhaps it’s the right sound.
‘From Dead To Worse’ stood out to me as a track that a crowd would have a great deal of fun singing along with. With a chorus of ‘Dead! Dead! Dead! Dead to worse! There are things worse than death/Far more worse than death!’ sung in a very staccato and rhythmic pattern, I can easily see a sea of hands pumping the air in time. Also, ‘Devil Rides Out’ has a very White Zombie feel to it.
Overall, ‘Witchkrieg’ is an album that took some time to grow on me. At first listen, the energy of the songs never seemed to go past 7. However, with each consecutive listen, I get more and more where the band is coming from and I appreciate the album better each time.
4 out of 5 skulls