The trend that started in 2014 of long dormant Power Metal bands making a return to active duty, into 2015 with continues with a few more bands including Stormwitch and Scanner both on Massacre Records. I’ve reviewed both albums this month so please enjoy both of them.
It has been 11 long years since Stormwitch released WITCHCRAFT in 2004 and I for one am delighted they are still making music. As expected the 11 years has seen some changes , the band is no longer on Nuclear Blast and has settled on the Massacre label. Andy, the vocalist is the only original member left member and since the last album the entire line-up (except Andy) has changed, again. This puts the number of people who have been in Stormwitch at over 30 ex-members! In my mind Andy should be compared to vocalists Rolf Kasperak (Running Wild) and Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger) who have also kept those German Power Metal institutions alive through single-minded determination. Ex-members of some obscure yet under-rated bands (Glenmore, Late Nite Romeo) have joined the ranks of Stormwitch.
SEASON OF THE WITCH is the bands 10th full-length studio album and unfortunately we have not reviewed too many of their albums, as for some reason the band has always suffered from poor distribution, making their album quite hard to find. I only have a few albums so I can’t really compare but Anders wrote a nice long review of WITCHCRAFT 10 years ago so you can check that out. The band has kept their iconic logo and has another killer album cover, they have always had great album art.
SEASONS OF THE WITCH is classic Maiden/Priest styled Metal with a Germanic flair. No one has accused Andy of being the world’s most gifted singer but he has a charismatic delivery and sings in the upper ranges. The pace of the album is largely mid-paced with a few faster songs. The guitar tone is crunchy but certainly not grinding by any means. There is some really melodic soloing in the track ‘Runescape’ which almost veers into power ballad territory. In fact this album could really just be defined as ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ Metal rather than Power Metal as it has a very traditional 80’s feel. The songs have a simple catchy construction all in the three to four minute range, very little in ambitious song-craft, just solid Metal riffs and songs.
The album is unacceptably short at 36 minutes, although the digipak does add a couple of bonus tracks. I really enjoyed Stormwitch and I can fully appreciate their nostalgia factor but I fear that they might not have the fire necessary to compete with the many young hungry bands or even the Hammerfall’s of the world who of course covered Stormwitch. SEASON OF THE WITCH is a very solid and enjoyable album that with any luck might introduce the band to the young retro crowd who are digging up obscure 80’s acts.
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