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Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Award winner

Bewitcher
Cursed Be Thy Kingdom
by Mark Machlay at 11 May 2021, 6:54 AM

Certainly, there are a multitude of bands and genres in rock and metal with many still crossing and exploring different genres. But BEWITCHER was certainly an eye-opener for me. The diabolical trio from Portland have returned with their third full-length, “Cursed Be Thy Kingdom” with their unique mix of blackened speed metal, now verging on traditional heavy metal. BEWITCHER was officially started as a studio project in 2013 by main songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Matteo Von Bewitcher and bassist Andreas Magus. They wrote and recorded some demo tapes from the comforts of their Portland apartment over a few years. It wouldn’t be until 2015 that they started working with drummers to play lives shows. Finally having a stable drummer in Rand Crusher, their self-titled debut would be released in 2016 on Diabolic Might Records to largely positive reviews. A few years later they released their second full-length “Under the Witching Cross” but parted ways with Crusher soon after with Aris Hunter being announced as their new drummer fairly quickly. BEWITCHER has extensively toured across the US and Europe opening for acts like VISIGOTH, SAVAGE MASTER, and HOLY GRAIL.

Now two years in the making, BEWITCHER has returned with their third full-length “Curse Be Thy Kingdom” with the power of a major label under Century Media Records. Recorded at The Captain’s Quarters in Ventura, California by Armand John Anthony of NIGHT DEMON and mixed by Cameron Webb famous for working with MOTORHEAD and MEGADETH, the new album still has that fire and grit from they were more of an independent band despite being on a major label. But, according to guitarist and vocalist Von Bewitcher, the making of the album was something of an arduous journey, saying “it has been a Hell of a two years. When the first riffs were just starting to come together, the world of BEWITCHER was already in a state of flux…things only got crazier from there, and it was in that boiling cauldron of high pressure and hardship that “Cursed Be Thy Kingdom” was born”.

Personally, I think the move to a major studio did a lot for BEWITCHER to maintain their unique blackened speed metal sound, but add a greater melodicism with this new release that will do wonders to please a wider audience and possibly draw in new fans. First, “Ashe” acts as an intro into this dark western motif, like you’re at the crossroads of life ready to make a deal with the demon god of metal to sell your soul. Southern rock and blues solos with dark acoustic arpeggio picking, sets the mood for this album perfectly. This leads straight into “Death Returns” which almost sound like if CHILDREN OF BODOM covered a country tune in which they made up cool southern rock licks instead of jangly acoustic guitar chords. The lead single “Satanic Magick Attack” starts out like DIO’s “Stand up and Shout” adds this blackened metal scream of a vocals style, but still delivers melodic JUDAS PRIEST guitar work, keeping you permanently under a spell. “Electric Phantoms” follows with a mix of mid-80s OZZY OSBOURNE and MOTORHEAD violent flair and unrelenting speed until the middle where it has a MERCYFUL FATE worthy chugging breakdown. It’s a rollicking good time and if the average classic heavy metal listener can get past the heavier blackened vocal style, this is perfect for any fan of MOTORHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST or even ZZ TOP.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ashe
2. Death Returns…
3. Satanic Magick Attack
4. Electric Phantoms
5. Mystifier (White Night City)
6. Cursed Be Thy Kingdom
7. Valley of the Ravens
8. Metal Burner
9. The Widows’s Blade
10. Sing of the Wolf
Lineup:
Matteo Von Bewitcher – Vocals & Guitar
Andreas Magus – Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals
Aris Hunter – Drums & Percussion
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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