WITCHERY - Witchkrieg CD
Century Media Records
Does anyone in WITCHERY know how to play a guitar solo? I figured the question had to be asked since there's a Extreme Metal "who's who" of guest guitarists all adding solos on here. Bassist Sharlee D'Angelo got his old MERCYFUL FATE band mate Hank Shermann and KING DIAMOND's Andy LaRocque to add some six string help on two songs. SLAYER's Kerry King gets to add a solo on the opening title track. Both Gary Holt and Lee Altus from EXODUS work on another cut and Jim Durkin from DARK ANGEL adds a solo to another. Ladies and gentlemen (and you others) there's ten songs on here and half have guests playing on them. Hell why not add new vocalist Legion aka: Erik Hagstedt as a guest since he's been bouncing around from band to band of late which is a typical ex-MARDUK type of thing. You can't swing a dead melo-death fan in a Swedish nightclub without hitting an ex-MARDUK member. Obviously this must be part of some diabolical plan to return this band, who had some short lived glory in the late 90's with the releases Restless and Dead plus Dead, Hot and Ready, back into the limelight. It makes a difference with the phrase "Oh a new WITCHERY release" by turning it into "Oh a new WITCHERY release and look who the hell is guest playing on it". It also works to have you ignore the fact that the band has been gone for four years and the ridiculous makeup Legion is wearing. Is he wearing that on stage as well or just for promo photos and videos?
With all of that said Witchkrieg is actually a decent release with it's modern Thrash chugging guitars, pounding drum work and of course having Legion behind the mic helps. Replacing former vocalist Toxiene aka: Tony Kampner was no easy feat since his sick vocal rasp style was part of the appeal of the early releases I mentioned. Now Legion adds his brutal chords and frankly how could you not enjoy that? Go on any chat room to take requests for favorite MARDUK releases and chances are you'll get all the one's from Legion's era. The opening and title cut has that SLAYER influence which just fucking grabs hold of ya plus Kerry King doing the solo. Other tracks like "Wearer of Wolf's Skin" and "Hellhound" are short, under the three minute mark, bursts of headbanging fun. They slow things down on "The God Who Fell from Earth" and turn more epic plus a lengthy Hank Shermann solo. "The Reaver" with guests Gary Holt and Lee Altus sounds like Legion fronting EXODUS. By the time you hit the latter half of the release you realize that there's alot of homage being paid and that's the reason for all the guests appearing. "From Dead to Worse" is total KING DIAMOND worship including Andy LaRocque's added solo. "One Foot in the Grave" with Jim Durkin providing a solo does sound similar to DARK ANGEL. "Conquer's Return", which could also have been a title track, is one of the best songs on here. There's one thing screwed up and that's when I was looking for a video on YouTube to accompany this review. The band recorded a song, sans guests, titled "Hung Drawn and Quartered" which is another short cut that bludgeons the listener. Unfortunately I found out it only came on the limited edition version. Yeah well anyways this is a great comeback release for WITCHERY. One has to wonder who will they have guesting on their next release, hmmm?