Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

February 23, 2012

Witchery ~ Don't Fear The Reaper

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Style: black metal, death metal, thrash, heavy metal
Label: Century Media
Year: 2006
Home: Sweden

Members: Toxine ~ vocals
Patrik Jensen ~ rhythm guitar
Rille Rimfalt ~ guitars
Sharlee D'Angelo ~ bass
Martin Axenrot ~ drums

Additional: Hank Sherman, Marcus Sunesson ~ lead guitars

Usually, with a listen to a black metal album one can expect a thrash-inspired onslaught of blasting riffs at top volume with heavy distortion & what an older generation likes to call noise. Witchery has been no expection to the rule, but Don't Fear The Reaper breaks all expectations & alongside Symphony For The Devil remains a highlight of their small but respected 6 CD output. This is everything one wants on a black metal album but never gets, or at least not outside Black Sabbath & some Metallica. All the heavy riffs & blaring guitars are there but from start to finish the album is incredibly slow. It plods like Frankenstein's monster. It's actually astonishingly slow, particularly compared to the three albums that came before it. Some fans will surely decry the change in sound but everyone else, including folks not familiar with Witchery, will surely love this. It brings together the best of Witchery, which is evil melodies with unusually clean riffs & straight forward arrangements, but yet gives them a new twist. This might be their most user friendly album for the non-death metal fan. It's the album for those of us that tend to shy away from death metal due to its ear obliterating onslaught but still look for dark overtones & manic moments in our music. There are a few songs & moments when the double kick drum & the guitars hit high gear but on the whole, & it's immediately noticeable, the album is a march & the opposite of what every thrash-inspired band seems to want to achieve. But, one should remember that forefathers Black Sabbath created the mold with riffs exactly like this & some of Megadeth's greatest songs are slow. The darkest moments of heavy metal have not necessarily been the fastest, though everyone seems to forget that sometimes in this Yngwie dance for speed. For those that want the feel & the power without necessarily the craziness this is a must listen that will not disappoint on repeated listens. Bassist Sharlee D'Angelo can also be found in Arch Enemy & Mercyful Fate while drummer Martin Axenrot is from Opeth. This is the final album to feature vocalist Toxine, replaced by ex-Marduk Legion briefly & more recently known LaVeyan Satanist Emperor Magus Caligula of the extremem metal band Dark Funeral. Considering the guitarists are from defunct underground cult band Satanic Slaughter Witchery is nothing less than a mini-supergroup of black metal ... monsters.

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