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Let him rise - 74%

Felix 1666, January 24th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2002, CD, Osmose Productions

Bewitched's "Rise of the Antichrist" was the successor of the very traditional heavy / power metal output called "At the Gates of Hell". This had been no bad album, nonetheless I was glad to hear that they had modified their style. "Rise of the Antichrist" presents a combination of NWOBHM riffing, smooth guitar lines, thrash elements and ominous choruses. Additionally, the four pale creatures of the album's back cover have not forgotten to generate a black aura, although some old-school solos, for example that of title track, try to provide a counterpoint. Finally, each and every track offers an extremely smooth flow. Only the closer marks an exception, because it is not a song in the narrow sense of the word. The sound collage, probably influenced by some similar pieces of King Diamond, wants to create a horrifying atmosphere, but it just lengthens the playtime of the comparatively short album which clocks in at 33 minutes.

The quality differences are rather small during the first eight tracks. The homogeneous material emanates a rancid stench, but I have the feeling that this evaporation is part of the crude humour of the guys. To avoid misunderstandings, the ironic twinkle in the eye is not the dominant feature of the album, but it plays a certain role and peps up the straight pieces. Bewitched have fun to combine their different influences and they do it mostly in a clever manner. Exceptions confirm the rule, for example the relatively mellow guitar line during the chorus of "The Ripper's Return", which is actually a good song. But I prefer the more powerful alternative of Bewitched's approach. Songs like "Bewitched by Evil" shine with a more aggressive guitar work and come straight to the point. The short melody, which shows up during the chorus, does no harm and can be neglected. The mangy opener is another example for the band's ability to create blackened thrash metal. Without being interested in complexity, the formation offers malignant leads, dynamic tempo changes and rasping lead vocals. Finally, the absolutely convincing chorus possesses the right amount of catchiness. But, as mentioned before, no song slips through the cracks. Bewitched present 30 minutes of scabby yet entertaining art.

The production is in the usual spectrum and the word "adequate" describes it sufficiently. Well, the sound effect at the beginning of the second track sucks. The explosion sounds ridiculous. But this minor flaw does not damage the sound as a whole. I appreciate the fairly sharp guitar sound and the vigorous drums. They equip simple yet gripping songs like the vile "Victims of the Cult" with the necessary degree of harshness and reinforce their impact. No doubt, Bewitched have penned a more than solid work, although the album does not mark a milestone. I do not know whether the guys of Exodus like this kind of music, but they deliver the suitable description: good friendly (fairly) violent fun.

Fun stuff - 75%

UltraBoris, May 23rd, 2003

Solid little power-thrash album here... reminding more of an old Nasty Savage sound than anything else. Not consistently fast enough to be speed metal, not death enough to be death, a bit different from classic thrash while retaining its old-school sound... well it just kinda falls in between all those genres, it's just HEAVY FUCKING METAL. There we go.

What we have here is 8 slabs of fun, catchy heavy metal - and one silly outro, which we will never speak of again. The rest ranges from midpaced to slightly above it, with each song throwing in at least one catchy riff, if not more. The album actually gets stronger as it goes on, with two the highlights "Bewitched by Evil" and "The Rippers Return" being the last two songs, and the title track, the absolute best song on here, kind of in the middle.

Then again, there really isn't a weak song here - we start with the headbanger "Worship the Fire". Nice midpaced groove riff, kinda harsh (think "Lemmy" on general principles) vocals - there really isn't much technical about this band, and they ride two or three riffs for the entirety of a song, but it's a good, well-written song. They know their limitations - they won't put in the female moog trumpet section, just because they can.

Victim of the Cult is solid speed metal, then Rise of the Antichrist is the thrashiest song on here - the one that can honestly be called thrash fucking metal, no question about it. They throw in a bit of a melodic break before segueing into more solid fucking riffage. This song just screams ownage. Then, we follow with Sacrificed in Flames, whcih is another thrasher. These two, along with the last two, are the highlight of the album.

Then the last 3 (forget that outro!) are also very good songs... if you like Nasty Savage but without the really squeaky vocals, and in general just want an album that screams HEAVY FUCKING METAL in the classic style, this is the one you need. A bit of Venom influence, some Exodus, some old Panzer even... good stuff.