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Great Album - 85%

tapehead, October 24th, 2009

Once upon a time or around twenty years ago drummer Jeff Plate (TSO, Metal Church, Savatage), vocalist Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle, Savatage) and guitarist Matt Leff were in a band called Wicked Witch that had some success playing clubs in the Boston area.

Fast forward two decades and the the former Wicked Witch members have re-united and added bass player Chris Rapoza to complete the line-up. The tracks contained here are a combination of re-worked Wicked Witch songs and new tunes. The sound is actually fairly varied as I can hear Savatage, Dio, Whitesnake and Kings X as influences. Due to the fact that 3/4 of this line-up played together years ago the end results sound like a cross of older hard rock and more recent sounds.

What we end up with is melodic tinged metal. Now I have to say that I didn't fully take to this album on the first play. Actually I finished listening to it and I had trouble getting into it, but I felt like it deserved another chance. True enough on the second try it get began to settle with me. The songs are well-crafted and the vocals are smooth. The production boosted the sound as needed, but they wisely left the instruments speak for themselves for the most part. Leff and Stevens contribute some fantastic melodies and that's a large part of what fuels their material.

I never heard Wicked Witch so I can't really compare these two bands accurately, but I am sure it's safe to see that the experience that the members have acquired over the ensuing years have helped tighten their playing skills. That last part is evident here because this is one of the best old style metal albums that I have heard in some time.