BURNING WITCHES comes at you with a heavy \m/etal assault originating from tiny Switzerland. Formed in 2015, these ladies already have an impressive following. BURNING WITCHES will now be crushing your skulls with Hexenhammer, out November 9 on Nuclear Blast Records. BURNING WITCHES is: Seraina Telli (vocals), Jeanine Grob (bass), Romana Kalkuhl (guitar), Lala Frischknecht (drums) and Sonia (guitar). These ladies are no sissies. Leading the way is “The Witch Circle”. A seemingly popular thing on new albums is a lead introduction tune to pace things. I generally think them a waste of vinyl groove, but this one conjures mood for what is to come.
Stretching your \m/etal senses on the rack is “Executed” which beat you to a pulp with a heavy beat and pounding muted notes, reminding me of something JUDAS PRIEST might shove down your throat. It’s a great start. Nothing angelic here. One of my very favorites and slaying you on the album is “Lords of War,” a power driver that will get your blood boiling. Within 15 seconds if your feet aren’t tapping and head bobbing around…you just don’t have it turned up loud enough. Some great heavy rhythm and tasty solo work. Telli’s vocals at times seems like a blend of DORO and Liv Sin. Excellent, because I love both of these ladies’ vocals. (and I’ve met them both…big grin).
Entrancing both sides of your brain with two heavy guitar riffs, then exploding into an IRON MAIDEN gallop through the open gate, the band screams to “Open Your Mind”. “Don’t Cry My Tears” slows down to adagio pace, with nice vocals and easy melodic guitar, a place in the album to glue the pieces of yourself back together. “Maiden of Steel” slides in next. It was a bit disappointing as the title of the song would suggest this was going to kick your ass. Not really. “Dungeon of Infamy” is an S&M mood setter. Portrayed (or maybe it’s a real recording) as an individual walking in from a rain storm and through a dungeon with screams and perhaps sexual pleasure goings on. What the fuck was that?
Remaining at an almost catatonic pace is “Dead Ender”. I have no doubt this one rocks the house when played live, but it’s pretty uneventful on the album. Coming to save the day is “Hexenhammer”. Introduced by a video on October 5 it now has over 145,000 views. Staying true to their name, BURNING WITCHES pays homage to their foremothers who were elevated as criminals and exterminated in the 15th Century. Really an excellent tune and definitely the best of the tracks. Getting back to some fast paced skins and synced guitars with “Possession” and then onto a little cannibalistic fun, just in time for Halloween, with “Maneater”. Probably the corniest song on album, but musically a couple of good hooks.
Finishing things up is the DIO cover “Holy Diver”. I liked their version and they do a good job with this one. In closing, this record was alright, but I was not all that impressed with it overall. I listen to quite a lot of metal albums. While this has some decent tunes, when the pace got really slow in the middle, I sort of lost my enthusiasm to finish it out to the end. I think it would have kept my interest better if the slower songs were more evenly spaced in the tracklist. Overall, I think they are a good band and will get better with time. Like their first album Burning Witches, I really think they do their best work on the heavier songs. Salude’
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Executed”, “Lords of War”, “Hexenhammer”
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH