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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.