They Say :- Guitarist Jack Frost founded Seven Witches together with Bobby Lucas (Vocals), Billy Mez (Bass) and John Osborn (drums). After just one Demo-CD in 1998 the band got a deal with Massacre Records. The debut album Second War in Heaven was released in 1999.
With their new longplayer (their eighth), entitled Call Upon The Wicked“ SEVEN WITCHES celebrate a stunning return with most likely the best line up of their career with James Rivera handling the vocals, Symphony-X basist Mike LePond and drummer Taz Marazz. “Call Upon The Wicked” is for sure the most variable and matured album in the band’s long time discography which was again well mixed and mastered by Joey Vera (Armored Saint)
We Say :- There’s the old joke about the cleaner who claims to have had the same broom for 20 years, and in that time it’s only had 3 new handles and 5 new heads. By the same token Seven Witches have been around since 1999, well rather founding guitarist Jack Frost has been in the band since the start, and he is the only member of the current line-up who can make that claim.
It’s pretty soon apparent that Seven Witches play “proper” heavy metal, and they do it bloody well. This much is obvious from the pounding riff and Rob Halford-esque screams that open the album. It’s a metal record that draws on the un-buggered-about-with traditions of the genre.
Right, time to state the obvious here, but there isn’t anything breathtakingly original going on here, but at the same time Seven Witches don’t sound like some cheesy 80s revival metal band. There is still something uplifting about “true” heavy metal played properly, and here it is played very properly indeed.
The major strength of this release is the vocal performance from James Rivera. The most obvious comparison that comes to mind is Rob Halford, which is clearly no bad thing, but as well as hitting those high notes he can get down and dirty with the best of them. Mix that in with some great guitar playing from Frost over a tight-as-a-ducks-arse rhythm section and, honestly, what’s not to like ?
Another bonus is that the overall sound of the album is as good as anything I have heard recently, with Jack Frost’s near spot on production giving the whole package an everso slightly dirty edge which works whether things are slowed down (like the impressive Lilith), galloping along (like the title track), or even flat out in an almost Agent Steel stylee in Harlot If Troy. In a similar way to the last album I reviewed, The Android Meme’s Ordo Ab Chao, Seven Witches sound pleasantly familiar without sounding like a tribute band.
For all their Priest leanings my favourite track on the album is End Of Days, reminded me of MSG back in their Assault Attack heyday which is, again, no bad thing. There’s even the potential pitfall of a metallized cover version of a classic (in this case Cream’s White Room) which I must admit I really quite like.
Right, so I suppose a summary would be a good idea. Well if you like Priest, MSG and Accept then there’s a good chance that you’ll like this. And if you don’t why are you even reading this 😉