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Witching Hour - Where Pale Winds Take Them High…

Witching Hour
Where Pale Winds Take Them High…
by Eric Poulin at 21 July 2021, 4:43 AM

WITCHING HOUR is a black/thrash metal band that started in 2006 and hails from Rehlingen, Saarland, Germany. This is a special CD reissue from their 2014 EP entitled “Where Pale Winds Take Them High…” released through Sun and Moon Records on April 30th, 2021. The reissue contains tracks from the original MLP, the WITCHING HOUR / DIVISION SPEED – Antichrist Warfare Split 10", their first demo entitled “Arrival Of The Dark Throne", and some additional cover songs.

The opening title track “Where Pale Winds Take Them High…” is an instrumental intro filled with guitar melodies that are heavily influenced by the NWOBHM movement and go into a faster tempo which reminded me a lot of old HELLOWEEN material. The transition into “About a Curse of a Morbid Century” is perfect because this track goes into hyperdrive quickly and we are introduced to the echo effects in the vocals of Jan Hirtz, which are obviously harsh and have a slight black metal side to them. “So I've Chosen Death” is your straight shooting thrash number, very old school 1980s and a number that pulls no punches. It is gritty, dirty and surprisingly melodic in the background, even if has some relentless energy. The melodies sound completely different and almost muddy and buried in “From the Black Crypts of Fullmoon” which despite this peculiar use of the guitars, has a lot of bass to it (the notes are easier to hear on this one) and serves a dish of aggression. If you recall the early days of IRON MAIDEN and those shredding notes in the introduction, well you should probably enjoy the blistering “Long Way Off… In Silent Nights”, arguably the closest the band sounds to the almighty British legends on this effort. This is where the EP portion finishes with a slower outro and instrumental piece “Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten” which relies on some very well produced melodies and is quite he memorable number.

Some of the songs that come after are more in the demo-variety and have a raw side to them, completely disparate from the original EP. The standout is “Underworld Alliance” that sounds like SLAYER had gone into the death metal side of things. The bass practically overshadows the entire mix, but it is one of the intriguing pieces.

Now we have the extra songs which are cover songs. The band does justice to one of the greatest songs from MOTORHEAD, the down and dirty “Iron Fist”, here it sounds like a garage recording but it has that pure side to it that fans will appreciate. The other grinder here is “Aggressive Perfector” from SLAYER and while this version is covered in filth and dirt, it is a fitting rendition of a forgotten classic in the thrash era.

This compilation/reissue has a lot of material and really does not vary that much in style. You have the same type of vocals throughout with some high notes, but mostly harsh. The drums are pure thrash metal and the guitars love to go into a frenzy. I had never heard of the band before, but if you miss that old 1980s thrash metal, there is plenty here to feed your appetite.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Where Pale Winds Take Them High…
2. About a Curse of a Morbid Century
3. So I've Chosen Death
4. From the Black Crypts of Fullmoon
5. Long Way Off… In Silent Nights
6. Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten
7. Arrival of the Dark Throne
8. Eternal War
9. Vlad the Impaler
10. Underworld Alliance
11. Pedophiliac
12. Desecration of Graves
13. Awakening of These
14. Iron Fist (Motörhead cover)
15. Nightmare (Sarcófago cover)
16. Chicken Dance (Goatlord cover)
17. Aggressive Perfector (Slayer cover)
Jan Hirtz - Vocals, Guitars
Marco Justinger - Bass, Vocals (backing)
Sascha Bastian - Drums, Guitars (lead)
Philip - Guitars - Rhythm
Record Label: Sun and Moon Records


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Edited 08 December 2022

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