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Witchery - Nightside Award winner

Witchery
Nightside
by Chris Hawkins at 11 August 2022, 2:35 PM

I can honestly attest to having been a WITCHERY fan since the band’s inception.  In fact, I still hold “Restless and Dead” and their subsequent “Witchburner” EP in very high regard.  One of my favorite concert memories was seeing the band in NYC open for EMPEROR and BORKNAGARMagnus Olsfelt from THE CROWN filled in on bass because Sharlee D’Angelo was gigging with MERCYFUL FATE.  WITCHERY’s inimitable fiery passion is on full display in their Heavy Metal anthems.  The band’s last album, “Symphony for the Devil,” was a blast to listen to and the band’s latest, “Nightside,” follows along WITCHERY’s tried and true work ethic to produce organic, blazing Heavy Metal that pays the requisite tribute to the past yet is ever hopefully gazing into the future.

While the lineup for the band has changed much over the years, the two guitar players, Patrik Jensen, and Richard Corpse, have been mainstays and have laid the foundation for the band via their diabolical riffing.  The newer three members also have prodigious resumes with names such as FIRESPAWN, SATYRICON, and THE HAUNTED being among the slew of Metal royalty from which WITCHERY has drafted their newer members.  As always, WITCHERY remains Heavy Metal royalty!

Witches actually play into the theme of the album from its start.  “Witching Hour” kicks things off with a barbarous wrath.  No, it is not a VENOM cover – but – the following track is!  The band does a blazing rendition of “Don’t Burn the Witch”.  Naturally, the seminal Black Metal band’s classic fits nicely alongside the oeuvre of WITCHERY.

WITCHERY also retains the powerful production that has been a trademark from the band’s very beginning.  As a bass player, it is always a pleasure to hear an album in which the low end is enhanced rather than buried.  The bass tone itself is absolutely excellent!  It has a 360-degree, mammoth tone, well-rounded and equalized to perfection.  Compared to THE HAUNTED, the guitar tone is a bit restrained to fit into the more traditional WITCHERY sound.  There are certainly no complaints, though, as the band has delivered a full, natural sound for “Nightside”.  It especially sounds killer when listening with a pair of high-quality headphones.

The fifth track, “Popecrusher,” is another highlight of the album.  A maddening, Thrash-filled romp, the song rambles along decisively shredding all in its path.  Following closely is “Left Hand March”.   Beginning with a simple, yet effective bass line – think along the lines of “Runnin’ with the Devil” – the song has an absorbing groove.  It is impossible to resist the alluring rhythm of the song.

When all is said and done, “Nightside” is a fantastic album.  The band has had two decades to perfect their sound and all of that hard work is definitely paying off.  This album undoubtedly will be in many journalists’ year-end best-of lists.  It will definitely be in mine!

Songwriting:  8
Originality:  8
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Witching Hour
2. Don’t Burn the Witch
3. Storm of the Unborn
4. Er Steht in Flammen
5. Popecrusher
6. Left Hand March
7. Under the Altar
8. Churchburner
9. Crucifix and Candle
10. A Forest of Burning Coffins
11. Nightside
Lineup:
Patrik Jensen - Guitars
Richard Corpse – Guitars
Chris Barkensjö– Drums
Angus Norder – Vocals
Victor Brandt – Bass
Record Label: Century Media
     


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