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Burning Witches - The Witch Of The North Award winner

Burning Witches
The Witch Of The North
by Thomas Kumke at 24 May 2021, 5:22 PM

BURNING WITCHES hailing from Switzerland are around for six years already and the classic Heavy Metal outfit are back with their 4th full-length album. The five ladies have established themselves quickly into the Heavy Metal world and played at a number of big festivals including Wacken Open Air and Summer Breeze. Besides being home on the biggest stages, they relentlessly working on new material and “The Witch Of The North” is their latest album which was released via Nuclear Blast. With Larissa Ernst having replaced Sonia Nusselder (CRYPTA), the new album was recorded at Little Creek Studio and produced by V.O. Pulver (POLTERGEIST) and DESTRUCTION legend Schmier and has a remarkable playing time of more than one hour.

BURNING WITCHES stand for classical and true Heavy Metal from the 80s and that is fully reflected in their new album. The 14 tracks are a time travel back to the golden age of Metal where all the legends were born and the sound of “The Witch Of The North” is a mix of the best what that period had to offer. The title song gives a first impression: heavy and catchy guitar riffs in mid-tempo, measured and epic sing-along choruses and lead guitar sequences, an extended lead guitar solo that carries the song forward, and the overarching voice of Laura Guldemond who gives the song something special and makes it most likely to a fan favorite. Laura Guldemond shows all her vocal registers and her amazing talent of being a great Metal vocalist. The battle scene right at the end is something that belongs to such epic track. The title song was released as video and the clip transports the epic atmosphere of the track perfectly. The YouTube link is given below.

All songs on the album are sharp and very dynamic. BURNING WITCHES mix things up perfectly to maintain freshness. While the first few songs have a lot of epic components such as “We Stand As One” which is another sing-along songs for the fans, other songs are faster and more aggressive. “Flight Of The Valkyries” starts with a slow intro but quickly starts kicking-into-the-face with fast guitar riffing, highly paced rhythm, lots of double-bass drumming, but still maintaining a melodic basis of the song. A perfect song for the pit. “The Circle Of Five” might well have been on any of the JUDAS PRIEST albums as long as the verse sections are concerned: super heavy “British Steel”-like rhythm guitars with lots of aggression and the vocals perfectly fit onto that. Unfortunately the chorus section cannot keep up with that, but perhaps this is a good thing since it shows that the band has something to offer beyond paying homage to the 80s.

The Witch Of The North” offers something for everyone, so the inevitable ballad with “Lady Of The Woods” which is a great piece of music especially in terms of songwriting. “Nine Worlds” is again more dynamic in mid-tempo with aggressive guitar rhythms, cool melodies and lead guitars. I should say something about the lead guitar solos on the album. They are of high technical quality, contribute most often very well to the song and are typically highlights of the tracks. “For Eternity” and “Dragon’s Dream” are simply a few examples for the outstanding work of Romana Kalkuhl and Larissa Ernst.

BURNING WITCHES like including a cover song on their albums. After having played “Holy Diver” and “Battle Hymn” on previous albums, “The Witch Of The North” finishes off in style with the SAVATAGE classics “Hall Of The Mountain King” including a guest solo of former SAVATAGE axeman Chris Caffery. According to Romana Kalkuhl, the band wants to honor their roots and to pay tribute to the bands that inspired them so much with those covers. A great way to finish a great album.

BURNING WITCHES continue their way to establish themselves into the sacred halls of Heavy Metal. “The Witch Of The North” has all the ingredients of an excellent Metal album: cool guitar riffs, explosive and dynamic rhythms, epic melodies, technically outstanding lead guitars, and vocals with an impressive range and diversity. BURNING WITCHES have their role models where they get their inspirations from and that is manifested in the band’s sound. They made clearly a step forward in their development as a band and especially in their songwriting. The production of the album is excellent. “The Witch Of The North” is one of the Heavy Metal highlights of 2021 so far and the album should be part of the collection of every Metal fan.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Winter’s Wrath
2. The Witch Of The North
3. Tainted Ritual
4. We Stand As One
5. Flight Of The Valkyries
6. The Circle Of Five
7. Lady Of The Woods
8. Thrall
9. Omen
10. Nine Worlds
11. For Eternity
12. Dragon’s Dream
13. Eternal Frost
14. Hall Of The Mountain King (SAVATAGE)
Lineup:
Laura Guldemond – Vocals
Romana Kalkuhl – Guitars
Larissa Ernst ­ Guitars
Lala Frischknecht – Drums
Jeanine Grob – Bass
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
     


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