Witchery - Don't Fear The Reaper - 2006 - Century Media
1. Disturbing The Beast 2. Stigmatized 3. Draw Blood 4. The Ritual 5. Ashes 6. Plague Rider 7. Damned In Hell 8. Crossfixation 9. The Wait Of The Pyramids 10. Immortal Death 11. Styx 12. War Piece 13. Cannon Fodder 14. Legion Of Hades (Bonus)
Sweden's blood soaked five piece cross the boiling lakes in search of one warning for us all..."Don't Fear The Reaper". With their newest endeavor the retro-thrash outfit take their blasphemous attack to the masses again, this time offering up their fourth infernal effort to date. With massive, groovy tracks and an unbridled speed metal assault Witchery once again finds themselves ushering in another sonic wave of annihilation and authority. "Don't Fear The Reaper" is a multi-level assault that really pushes and plunges its way into the most sadistic and icy hearts of today's well rounded metal banger.
With the previous Witchery releases I always found the band slightly imprisoned within their speed metal confines. I've always wanted to see the band explore more melody and possibly experiment with some more intricate arrangements. Obviously the group's debut, "Restless And Dead", was a huge success within metal circles, going as far as establishing Witchery as one of the top tier acts of modern thrash. With this new effort the band seems much more focused and determined to spread their sound out a bit, really taking into consideration the importance of diversity and deeper dimensions. As "Don't Fear The Reaper" plays out you can hear the obvious signs of maturity and seasoning. One listen to song like "Ashes" will show just how far the band has gone in creating interesting song structures that are very detailed and intricate. That track to me shows signs of life, really embracing the long ago stance of Samael circa "Ceremony Of Opposites". Another fantastic element to the band is the use of huge, melodic lead work, really soaking through on songs like "The Ritual" and "Damned In Hell", with both cuts using that Mercyful Fate new wave essence to alleviate and enhance some of the chaotic speed fests raging in one direction. Of course the band don't stray far from their quick, rapid fire Slayer attack, with storm chasers like "Plague Rider" and "Immortal Death" all riding fast hot winds of Hell.
Bottom Line - With "Don't Fear The Reaper" Witchery prove not only are they influenced by the legendary thrashers of the past but are indeed on par to create their own legacy. Highly recommended for the serious headbanger!
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.
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