WITCHERY - Hard Metal Hellride!
by Martin Popoff

One of the greatest live bands I've ever seen at the hard-tail end of the spectrum has got to be Witchery. It almost seems unreal to me that it even happened. Toxine looking all corpse-like in corpse-paint, Jensen rocking like a madman, smoke billowing... songs old school thrashing with a hint of blackness... this was an event, a clinic put on by Europeans, metal crucibled down to its base elements. My hazy headbanged memory of it (it was a boozy affair as well, a huge love-in of metal for all the local press and fans), was that the band was touring their now legendary Restless And Dead debut album, and that the guys were having a ball not having to be so serious and artsy about their somber metal blackness.

The Witchburner EP, Dead, Hot And Ready and Symphony For The Devil would fill out the catalogue in the ensuing years for this gravely part-time band, and now, five years later, comes Don't Fear The Reaper. Recorded in '04, the album sat scowling, patiently, leaving rust stains, while the guys went about their business with bigger bands like The Haunted and Arch Enemy.

But now it's here, and Witchery's biker black metal (crispy-fried thrash?) rock 'n' wretch vibe is very much intact. Sure, the sound has shifted a bit, but just how much, only bassist Sharlee D'Angelo can attest... "The first one is the super spontaneous one, just a whirlwind of... I don't know (laughs). It's sort of the result of people not knowing what they're doing. The second one sort of continued along those lines. There was no pressure. And then Symphony, which was a couple years later, that one was sort of our Black Album (laughs). We matured a little bit, slowed things down slightly. And by saying that, I hope that this is not our Load (laughs). But I think Don't Fear The Reaper goes along in the same vein as Symphony - it's not as fast as the first two albums. There are fast elements, but it's really influenced by the rest of what we love from the '70s and the '80s."

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