Stormwitch - Witchcraft 2.5/5

Reviewed: 3-18-05





Tracklist:

1. The sinister child
2. At the break of this day
3. Fallen from God
4. Frankensteinís brothers
5. Until the war will end
6. Witchcraft
7. Sleeping beauty
8. Puppet in a play
9. The kiss of death
10. Moonfleet
11. Salome
12. The drinking song
13. Blood lies in my hand


Stormwitch has always occupied a rather unique realm in the melodic metal arena, for one thing, although they have some of the sweet, anthemic melody that we associate with power metal, the overall tone, production, and feeling of their music was always a step-less heavy, even when they were dealing with typical heavy metal darkness in their early days, similar to Running Wild in lyrics but not in sound. And, of course, on 'Eye of the storm' the band reached such a commercial low that it seemed a stretch to even consider some of the songs hard rock, much less heavy metal, while at the same time still conveying such great melody. The band quickly got over that, releasing a pretty strong succession of CDs in 'War of the wizards' (1993) (which valiantly told the story of Tolkien's worlds, albeit with made up names out of some copyright concerns that never seem to matter to other bands), 'Shogun' (1994)(based on Clavell's novel), and the nicely packaged 'Priest of evil' which was a great compilation of their early works.

In 2002, the band released a very strong come-back CD called 'Dance with the witches', which was quite strong and good in my opinion. Although it's been 2 years since then, the latest offering 'Witchcraft' crept up on me. It won't be surprising to anyone familiar with the band, and it's another solid Stormwitch CD, if, for my money, perhaps one small notch below 'Dance with the witches'. Andy Muck's vocals, the unique and enduring calling card of the band, are strong and melodic and as we've always known them.

"The sinister child" starts out with a very catchy chorus, and deals with a kind of demonic baby Jesus for Christmas...I guess you have to hear it. "At the break of this day" speeds things up, while "Fallen from God", again, with the band's original dichotomy, gives a song with supremely sweet melodies, a chorus reminiscent of a male version of some of Edenbridge's mellower songs, but with darker lyrics. "Frankenstein's brothers" is very easy to get into, but unfortunately is a song about metal-fun-having it's not exactly up to the deeper intellectual and emotional subjects the band normally deals with. Overall though, it's a very solid heavy metal CD with very strong melodies, and Muck's unique vocals. So if Stormwitch appeals to you, you'll probably greatly enjoy this.



CRAIG




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