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Very underrated - 95%

SleepingFinger, July 25th, 2010

This Swedish heavy metal band seems to have fallen into obscurity in the midst of the 80's metal scene, so it's pretty amazing that they're still around. They seem to be a pretty talented bunch, and they have some very cool album art. They seem to have somewhat of a medieval theme going for them. Axe Witch is definitely very good at what they do, so it surprises me how little known they are.

The music sounds like a mixture of 80's style heavy metal and 70's style heavy metal. Not too surprising considering that this was released in 1982, the 80's were just kicking in. The production is pretty good and everything sounds fine. I think the guitarist and drummer are really in sync with each other and they make a great duo. The singer is very good, there's not much high singing on this record either. The singing is mid range, so there isn't really a lot of deep singing either. His vocals really fit the feel of the music though. The drumming is good and always fits in with the pace of the music, it's slow when it should be and fast when it should be. The bass isn't really audible, that's quite unfortunate though. The music here isn't very heavy but for 1982 it's good enough.

The songs are all good and they are performed very well. The 70's metal influence is noticeable on the slightly bluesy "Born In A Hell", and the more rockish "Heavy Revolution. They both remind me a little bit of late 70's Judas Priest, sometimes even "Heaven And Hell" era Black Sabbath. "In The End Of The World" Kicks off with a siren and is a mid paced, 80's sounding metal song with some cool soloing in the middle, it still maintains a slight 70's element though. But there is one upbeat, melodic song on here. My favorite song here,"Death Angel". There's no 70's metal to be found here, just fast paced 80's metal with great guitar work and a mellow, catchy chorus. Not much different than many NWOBHM songs.

I would definitely advise any metalhead to pick this one up. Especially fans of NWOBHM bands, this fits right in with those type of bands. I don't know how common of a find this EP is, but if you can find it then do yourself a favor and get it. If you want some good old fashioned heavy metal, look no further than Axe Witch.

Sometimes more like prey for metal - 65%

Gutterscream, September 21st, 2007
Written based on this version: 1982, 12" vinyl, Independent (Colored Vinyl)

Sometimes sounding like produced and heavy late '70s rock that’s forded the river to the next decade, Axe Witch (or Axewitch) is another early Swedish export pretty much drowned by time despite four or five releases under their nwo?hm-fastened belt. It’s a score of tradition going on here obviously and even though it’s quite clear where the band’s sonic roots lie, they try to quell our fears with ‘guaranteed no synthesizers or overdubs’ on this disc, and for best quality to ‘play this record real loud!’, because in ’82 we had to be reminded of this, I guess. Well, as an early teen I barely knew what the hell was going on out there, but even graced with such a confidently metal-imposed title and crowning achievement eleventh grade art, there was still this sinking feeling, this ‘gawd, I hope they don’t sound like The Rods' dread that kept Pray for Metal at arm’s distance. Everyone seems to be having a delightful time in the back cover shots, apparently pleased with this four-tracker despite dishing out the moolah for it themselves, save bassist Tommy Brage that is, who glares at us almost as seriously as a neglected tetanus shot.

But these tunes aren’t half bad (and consequently are only about half good). Found shifting a drive train like a marginally sloppier, restrained More, the five-piece at times struggle to get out of their own way like in crunchy “Born in a Hell” (found later on their Visions of the Past lp as well), “Heavy Revolution”, and “In the End of the World”, a song that with an air raid siren literally warns us right off the bat how droll most of it is, though sometimes can be heard galloping around the stable (diminutive tracts from “In the End of the World” and final track “Death Angel”, easily the one with the most get up n’ go). Singer Anders Wallentoft sounds flat and weary, like he just woke up with hangover intact, and aside from his slightly bubblier performance in “Death Angel”, is the real party pooper here, but a lot of these rhythms putter annoyingly under the speed limit in unpersuasive lanes.

Alas, there was more hair-raising stuff coming out in ’82, including More, fellow Swedsters Heavy Load, UK’s Legend, and Under the friggin’ Blade, though most of us had far better chances finding Mob Rules, Speak of the Devil, For Those About to Rock, and, um, Diver Down.

Next year’s follow-up is only a little bit better.