Witchery – Don’t Fear the Reaper (Century Media, 2006)


Third release from this project, band,… thing. I remember when I bought my first Witchery album, I had seen it sitting on the half price shelf for a long time, one day I took the time to look at it and read the sticker on the front. It said featuring members of Mercyful Fate, being a big Mercyful Fate fan I decided to get it. I didn’t like it much, to be honest, and when I discovered the Mercyful Fate member to be D’Angelo, who was at best a hired gun in MF, I just left it laying around.


For a long time I only listened to Witchery when they popped up in random mode on Itunes, but I started to really enjoy it, and now I own all their albums and listen to them regularly. I chose this album to review because it fucking rules.


I’m a big thrash fan, but a novice in the world of blackened thrash. So I don’t know the rules of this particular game. But the songwriting is very much in like a meeting between The Haunted, Slayer, Candlemass and Arch Enemy. The music varies between fast, up tempo and mid-paced grooves. The rhythm section is so tight it could suffocate you, and the vocals are raspy, black metal kind of raspy, and sung with flair and energy.


The riffs are simple, efficient and extremely groovy on slower material and inspires both air guitar and headbanging on faster songs.  The fast material in particular is reminiscent of The Haunted, which is not surprising considering who writes the music for both bands.


One thing that makes this band and this album stand out for me is the bands ability to play with cliches without the banality of say …. Steel Panther or something like that. The fact that most of the songs have a sing along chorus makes it all the better. I might be a thrasher, but I also like to scream along.  


Don’t fear the Reaper contains quite a collection of excellent tracks, but I would like to point out the slow, steady beat of Draw Blood. The grooves of The Ritual, or Crossfixation. Or maybe the brutality of Immortal Death or Cannonfodder. Or maybe the just point out the excellent melodies of the instrumental tracks, especially The Wait of the Pyramids, which feature a guest appearance by one of my personal heroes; Hank Sherman of Mercyful Fate, but all three instrumentals are excellent.

As I hope you can tell by now, I absolutely love this album, although the lyrics are silly and the production could have been cleaned up a bit, the albums rocks, start to finish. 


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