Review: Burning Witches “The Witch of the North” [Nuclear Blast]

Review: Burning Witches “The Witch of the North” [Nuclear Blast]

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This is a really nice, epic album about the adventures of the witches of the north.

Burning Witches stick to their usual themes of witchcraft, but on this album, they’re really giving it their all. You know it’s going to be big and over-the-top, with the intro and its guitars and vocalizing, the anthemic title track and its belting and growled chorus.

And the rest follows, with similarly powerful tracks with catchy choruses. There are all sorts of epic adventures, with witches, druids and Valkyries. The band has some phenomenal energy on this album. They’re also having a lot of fun on the more light-hearted and fun tracks like The Witch of the North and Flight of the Valkyries, and they sound bad ass on the more evil-sounding ones like We Stand As One. Some other tracks are more complex and strange, while still having a great heavy metal energy. This album is a lot of fun and will get your blood pumping. What can I say about it that hasn’t already been said about all the great heavy and power metal albums? This one has a lot of the qualities that the great ones have.

Well, maybe not all of them. I would say this album is not exactly great yet. If I had to talk about what I didn’t really like, I’d say that the very over-the-top, hammy vocal delivery can be a little grating at times, though you get used to it easily. And I think they’re chanting “north, north” in The Witch of the North, which I admit I can’t take all that seriously. Also, the bonus track, Hall of the Mountain King, is the second metal cover of In the Hall of the Mountain King I’ve heard in a review for Antichrist Magazine, and it’s not as good as the first one because the original melody is almost unrecognizable.

But as I said, you get over the album’s little flaws pretty easily. Laura’s vocals are clearly inspired by Rob Halford’s on the Painkiller album. It’s obvious from the beltings in Tainted Ritual or the shrieking on the verses of The Circle of Five, where she even says “all guns blazing”. But rather than being a rip-off, it’s just one source of inspiration, as she tries other styles of singing: the quiet and somber Lady of the Woods, where she’s just singing rather than trying to do as many vocal tricks as possible, a few growls here and there, and a raspier delivery somewhere between regular singing and Rob Halford shrieks on Thrall and We Stand as One. There’s also some nice choruses sung by the whole band, and some wordless male vocalizations on Lady of the Woods. Basically, she’s giving all she’s got to her vocal performance, and while this doesn’t always work, when it’s good, it’s really good.

Of course, the rest of the band is just as good, with their epic guitar solos and equally fun and energetic riffs. The songs as a whole are really good: there are some great heavy metal anthems like the title track or We Stand as One, some super-fast tracks like Thrall, some evil witch anthems like The Circle of Five and some more mysterious stuff like Lady of the Woods. Really, there’s something for everyone.

My point is, this album’s really good. Is it really the new Painkiller like it’s trying to be? Maybe not yet, but it’s still an incredibly enjoyable album, and you won’t regret hearing it.

Release date: May 28th, 2021

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