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Seven Witches - Passage To The Other Side - reviewed by: EC

Track Listing
1. Dance With The Dead
2. Mental Messiah
3. Johnny
4. Apocalyptic Dreams
5. Fever In The City
6. Betrayed
7. Last Horizon
8. Natures Wrath
9. Wasted (Def Leppard Cover)
10. Passage To The Other Side
One of my favorite "new" power metal bands returns.

I'm not really sure if you can still call this power act new, as Passage To The Other Side marks the band's fourth studio offering, and the third vocalist change for the band. Bobby "Leather Lungs" Lucas was the frontman for Seven Witches for their first two releases, only to be replaced with legendary hired gun Wade Black for the grand opus, Xiled To Infinity last year. Jack Frost now has legendary vocal god James Rivera in his band, and I believe this new move works well for Passage To The Other Side, an album that I surprisingly enjoy with Rivera on the mike, a thought I hated last year when I heard that Black was out of the band.

Along with the change at the front comes a change on bass, replacing Billy Mez with famed Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Armored Saint). What has this lineup change done to the sound? Well actually not much. Passage To The Other Side really sounds like its cut from the same cloth as the prior release. Tracks like "Dance With The Dead", "Johnny", and "Fever In The City" rumble along much like "Tyrant" and "Incubus" did on Xiled To Infinity. Rivera is really in top notch form here, using his mid-range pipes for much of the release, and letting the Helstar-type vocals soar on "Mental Messiah", sounding like a "Helstar meets Priest" battle-roar.

Jack Frost really hammers the point home, coming up with vintage metal riffs, recycled but modernized to add even more impact to the sound, complete with style and grace that we have come to expect from Frost. I love the power ballad title track, and the band does a great cover of Def Leppard's Wasted, which was from the very under-rated On Through The Night record. Its good to see Frost paying homage to early pioneers, but in my opinion Seven Witches are paving their own way as well.

There isn't many American metal bands out there playing this style. I'm not talking about dungeons and dragons themes, but good thrashing power metal, ala early Annihilator and Iced Earth, with good songwriting that provokes actual thought. Thinking man's metal if you will. Sure this type of sound is dated, but its almost become a rarity in today's metal scene, where bands are searching for the next Helloween sound, and forgetting about those great US bands like Helstar and Omen. Seven Witches remembers that sound, and they capitalize on it. I'm glad they remember that sound and I'm hoping that this lineup will stay intact, but with the ever changing lives of Seven Witches, one has to wonder.

--Reviewed by EC 4.02.03
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SEVEN WITCHES
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
AmpedSeven Witches
2006
Eric Compton1/13/2006
Call Upon The WickedSeven Witches
2011
Eric Compton9/30/2011
City Of Lost SoulsSeven Witches
2006
Eric Compton2/18/2006
Passage To The Other SideSeven Witches
2003
Eric Compton4/2/2003
Second War In HeavenSeven Witches
2006
Eric Compton2/18/2006


ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: SEVEN WITCHES
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
Call Upon The WickedSeven Witches
2011
Chris Kincaid7/12/2011
The Way of the WickedSeven Witches
2015
Eric Compton1/26/2016


ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: SEVEN WITCHES
INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
Wade BlackSeven WitchesEric Compton4/4/2003


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