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Burning Witches - Hexenhammer

Burning Witches
by Kevin Burke at 23 November 2018, 2:26 PM

The sisters-in-arms BURNING WITCHES have struck the right chord with their second offering “Hexenhammer”, the Swiss-quintet have been knocking on the door to success for the past two years, but here they give a monumental display of power, musicianship and of course doom-laden lyrics. Opening with the voodoo summoning “The Witch Circle”, a soft guitar pattern is augmented by a collage of ominous voices and whispering, then the Swiss-Witches launch into “Executed”, with a bow to the sound of DIO this female-war machine rolls into action.

The track “Lords Of War” proves they can be melodic when needed and provide the anthem-based chorus to lift a song. Seraina Telli has a voice perfectly suited to front a band such as BURNING WITCHES, the steady dual guitar-attack of Romana Kalkuhl and Sonia Nusselder is an assault of skillful mastery, flash solos and dirty-riffing abound the album. On the quieter moments such as “Don’t Cry My Tears” the range of Telli comes to the front, she manages to sound mournful and menacing without falling into cliche territory, as “Maiden Of Steel” gets the listener back into chunky-guitar territory you do get the sense of how melodic the band actually are under the distortion.

Thunder, lightning and church bells with voices in pain sum up “Dungeon Of Infamy”, as it sets up the theme nicely for “Dead Ender”, a steady building of tension let loose in a trash-filled number which includes a moment of transcendence through harmonies, showing there is more to BURNING WITCHES than just raw-energy. The title track “Hexenhammer” is perhaps a standout as it typifies everything the band are about, well constructed riffing, flash, melodic soloing, the steady drums of Lala Frischknecht, not always at to the front of the music but definitely its backbone and of course the spells cast through the screaming lyrics delivered with convicting levels of intensity.

“Maneater” is wonderfully malicious, the singer along with each instrument spits out venom as the song twists and turns through high-pitched screams with the pounding bass-lines of Jeanine Grob solidifying the sound. Closing the album with the cover of the DIO classic “Holy Diver”, if anyone was unfamiliar with the song they would easily be mistaken for thinking it was a BURNING WITCHES original, the track sounds as though it was constructed solely for them, a pleasant nod nonetheless to the late-legend Ronnie James who no doubt has had a huge influence on the sound of the band.

Beneath the spectacular cover-art is an album of epic proportions, if you crossed the sass of THE RUNAWAYS with the metal onslaught of SCORPIONS you get a good sense of what to expect and by all means you will not be disappointed, female-rebel-Metal is always something to take note of.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1.The Witch Circle
3.Lords of War
4.Open Your Mind
5.Don’t Cry My Tears
6.Maiden of Steel
7.Dungeon of Infamy
8.Dead Ender
12.Holy Diver
Seraina Telli - Vocals
Romana Kalkuhl - Guitar
Sonia Nusselder - Guitars
Jeanine Grob - Bass
Lala Frischknecht - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 31 May 2023

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