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After a highly prolific start to their career in delivering 3 albums and 1 EP between 1998-2001, it took until 2006 for Witchery to resurface with a new album and new label following the collapse of Necropolis Records. 2010 now sees the release of Witchkrieg, the bands 5th full-length and first in 4 years, and its once again time to raise the big ‘W’ to the sky and thrash out to another slab of Witchery madness.
Witchkrieg marks the debut of new vocalist Legion (ex-Marduk) who has big shoes to fill in that Toxine’s persona helped give character to the band and its image. His distinct and varied vocals were also a defining part of Witchery’s sound. Legion however manages to pull it off, adding his own significant presence to the mix as well as a bucketload of grunt and power which along with the big thick production helps elevate the songs into heavier more brutal territory.
The album kicks off with a bang as the title track is as vicious and nasty as anything they’ve done throughout their career. We’re then treated to the trilogy of better songs to be found with ‘Conqueror’s Return’ being the obvious highlight (and sure to be live favourite). What follows unfortunately fails to reach the same heights with ‘The Reaver’ and ‘From Dead to Worse’ being typical Witchery stompers and the rest sort of following a well worn if not still appealing sense of familiarity and approach.
As an extra kicker we also have Kerry King, Hank Shermann, Gary Holt, Andy LaRocque and Jim Durkin all adding solos across the album to help add some nostalgia and almost some implied approval of Witchery’s standing. While some of these help flesh out an already blitzing song, others suffer from a bit of ‘cut, paste and insert’ feeling which can be a little distracting. Jensen also finally gets to cut lose again after some less than inspiring releases recently from The Haunted and showcases why he is often considered a modern axe maestro taking thrash into the new millennium and beyond.
Overall its basically good old Witchery but on steroids with a big full production and armed with some heavier artillery in Legion and the guest shredders. Personally I’ve always felt Witchery underachieved a little with their caliber of talent and were a bit below their self promoted hype. However potential and image aside I’ve always enjoyed what Witchery has to offer and this release is no different. If you’re already a fan you’ll know what to expect and be left more than satisfied and if you’re new to Ben Wrangle and the boys then watch out and prepare to be Witchkrieged!!!!!!!!