Witchery

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Restless And Dead

Witchery - Restless And Dead ©1998 Necropolis
1. The Reaper
2. Witchery
3. Midnight At The Graveyard
4. The Hangman
5. Awaiting The Exorcist
6. All Evil
7. House Of Raining Blood
8. Into Purgatory
9. Born In The Night
10. Restless & Dead

Patrik Jensen, now of The Haunted, together with the remains of his former band Satanic Slaughter, have joined with Mercyful Fate bassist Sharlee D'Angelo to form Witchery. Witchery are doing for early 80's black metal what The Haunted is doing for thrash: staying true to the form of the old style, but updating it for the modern fan.

The music of Witchery is very thrash-influenced, drawing upon the past work of the legendary Venom and Bathory, and then adding in the technical prowess and atmosphere of early masters Mercyful Fate. Combining the style of the unholy trinity of black metal with a '90's attitude has created a great album that pays tribute to the past but doesn't dwell in it.

The guitars stutter at the beginning of opener "The Reaper," and then get down to business, blazing speed and heavy power riffs, and dirty vocals that remind one of Quorthon before he was kneeling at the altar of Smashing Pumpkins. The guitars are the focus on this album, and nothing gets the blood pumping more than when everything cuts, leaving the guitar alone to weave its magic. Of course, the bass is excellent as well, D'Angelo showing all why he was worthy of joining the Fate.

Newer fans who think that Mayhem and Emperor are "old-school" should check this out and get a history lesson along with the great music. Those who remember buying Welcome to Hell on vinyl will also be pleased, like proud parents watching the genre grow. Enough to bring a tear to the eye!

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 06/1999

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Witchburner EP

Witchery - Witchburner EP ©1999 Necropolis
1. Fast As A Shark
2. I Wanna Be Somebody
3. Riding On The Wind
4. Neon Knights
5. The Howling
6. The Executioner
7. Witchburner

There are many stories floating around about this EP, the second release from supergroup Witchery. Some say it was recorded before their debut, but released after it, while another story is that the title track was recorded before Restless and Dead and the rest was recorded after it. Based solely on listening to it, I have to believe the latter story. "Witchburner" sounds much like the material on Restless and Dead, and the production on it is a bit rougher.

The rest of the EP is composed of four cover tunes and two more originals, recorded with Andy LaRocque at Los Angered Recordings. The sound quality this time is more rounded and full, correcting the slightly thin sound of the debut. The two newer originals still have the old black/thrash sound, but with a bit more Sodom influence thrown in. It works very well, and makes me anxious to hear the new full length (which reportedly is already completed). The four covers are from 1980-84: Accept's "Fast As a Shark" (with a "Balls To The Wall" outro), W.A.S.P.'s "I Wanna Be Somebody", Judas Priest's "Riding On the Wind", and Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights." With the exception of "Fast As a Shark", these are songs that don't get covered often by today's extreme bands and Witchery does an excellent job of keeping the original magic of the tunes while adding in their own sound. This EP is great fun, and I will be busy attempting to burn a hole in mine while I wait for the new album. Do the W!

Review by Scott Wilcox

Review date: 06/1999


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Symphony For The Devil

Witchery - Symphony For The Devil ©2001 Necropolis
1. The Storm
2. Unholy Wars
3. Inquisition
4. Omens
5. Bone Mill
6. None Buried Deeper...
7. Wicked
8. Called For By Death
9. Hearse Of The Pharaohs
10. Shallow Grave
11. Enshrined
12. The One Within

To be honest, there is nothing revolutionary or innovative about Witchery, the famous Swedish "supergroup" containing members of Mercyful Fate, Satanic Slaughter and The Haunted. Witchery does very little beyond taking on the timeless formula of blackened, thrashy metal and playing it with vigor and vim. However, their music contains that intangible extra something that somehow allows it to transcend the morass of simplistic and ultimately unnecessary drivel that plagues other artists in the style. Symphony for the Devil represents the third full length and fourth overall release for this band and moreover, it also represents the band in fine form. The entire album from beginning to end is a rollicking romp through fast paced riffs, a taste of old school thrashing and blackened overtones that keep it firmly in modern times. Not enough emphasis can be put on the ability of Jensen, the annointed bandleader, to write and string together solid riff after solid riff. Not many people have this gift of riffology and he puts it to very good use. The band around him utilizes their various pedigrees to make Symphony for the Devil a good time to be had by all. There are times when innovation and musical experimentation are in order, but when you're simply in the mood for a blistering, solid metal attack, Witchery is a mighty fine choice.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2001

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Don't Fear The Reaper

Witchery - Don't Fear The Reaper ©2006 Century Media
1. Disturbing The Beast
2. Stigmatized
3. Draw Blood
4. The Ritual
5. Ashes
6. Plague Rider
7. Damned In Hell
8. Crossfixation
9. The Wait Of The Pyramids
10. Immortal Death
11. Styx
12. War Piece
13. Cannon Fodder
14. Legion Of Hades

I sincerely hope that Blue Oyster Cult fans don't come across this CD and figure it's a tribute band of any sort. The thrashy deathy sound of Witchery just might cause their sci-fi hippie ears to melt into a puddle of bongwater and incense. And now that I reconsider it, they have it coming.

Anyhow, Witchery is the Swedish "supergroup", featuring a veritable who's who in metal. In case you've been living under a rock for the last eight years, Witchery is guitarist Patrik Jensen's spawn of Satan and features folks who have played in Seance, Arch Enemy, The Haunted and other bands. Their brand of thrashified death metal with that chewy Swedish touch has been a consistent source of good metal since their 1998 debut.

For Don't Fear the Reaper, Witchery doesn't bother trying to reinvent the wheel and become the latest version of sliced bread. Instead, the band concentrates on what they do best: good songwriting with solid riff-o-rama. This is no different than their last release, Symphony of the Devil. Don't Fear the Reaper tends to feature more midpaced tempos than before. The production is quite good, even allowing Sharlee D'Angelo's bass to be heard from time to time. The album has a tendency to sound like it could trim a couple songs and have a bit more impact, but that could just be my short attention span at work as well.

Some bands try the same ol' thing and fail miserably. Witchery has the benefit of good songwriting and top notch musicianship. They're efficient and proficient and for this sort of thing, that's sufficient.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/2006

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