HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

SEVEN WITCHES - Call Upon The Wicked

Four years on since the last record, Call Upon The Wicked corrects from the absence with the return of metal-4-life James Rivera on pure power metal vocals. The songs he's making pure are smartly a little impure, combative, low-swinging, dark, and then brought back into accessible fold through the clean, modern production job of Armored Saint's Joey Vera (with band). Metal-4-life Jack Frost shares the limelight with Rivera, a sort of Halford with a lunch bucket, what with those wild swings from barks to howls, but it's also very cool that bassist Mike LePond writes most of the lyrics, turning Seven Witches into a Sabbath situ. The solid if conservative record ends with a considerably creative cover of the original boring 'White Room', and then three bonus live tracks recorded like crap, but again, each whack so metal-4-life as it reverberates off the concrete of a two-thirds empty club too ambitious for a staid life form such as the most traditional of power metals.
Rating 6

A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH - And Hell Will Follow Me

A Pale Horse Named Death is the harrowing, doom-laden mastermind of Life Of Agony's Sal Abruscato, who does everything on the album, in conjunction with his right-hand man, producer and enabler Matt Brown. There are a few guest bits (only significant one, really, is Biohazard's Bobby Hambel, provider of three solos). Picture the accessible, organic Type O material crossed with later Down, sloggy Danzig and pick yer Alice in Chains, and you're sorta in Sal's dark mindspace as he poisons your mind with relentlessly pessimistic lyrics and a booklet of fatal artistry to match. The overall acreage created is more intriguing than the parts however, with Sal's singing, his riffs, and the too-live production churning pedestrian and fatigued too often. But yeah, put all the songs together, with the gallows humour of the lyrics and the pretty great booklet, and Sal does manage to lead the band into the realm of cool, again, sorta like Down.
Rating 7

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