Released: 2006, Century Media/EMI Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Witchery rose from the ashes of Satanic Slaughter when 4 of their members started up Witchery together with outcast Sharlee D’Angelo. The debut RESTLESS AND DEAD came the following year and after that followed 2 full length albums and 1 EP. Witchery have never been a touring kind of band, 2 US tours and a longer European tour as well as a few single gigs here and there are all they have toured so far but I think the lack of touring depends on the members ordinary acts that almost are on constant tour all year round. Just before the release of their previous album, Mique left the band and in came Martin Axenrot (Bloodbath, on tour with Opeth). They have also signed on for a new label and are now on Century Media world wide for this new album.
I had really high expectations for this album and I thought that nothing could go wrong with such an all star line up and I was really surprised when I put the album on play because DON’T FEAR THE REAPER sounds nothing alike, and has nothing in common with their previous excellent albums. Both the debut RESTLESS AND DEAD and the follow up DEAD, HOT AND READY are masterpieces in my collection. It seems like something has happened and it’s not for the better. The tempo is slower and instead of their earlier brilliant thrash they now deliver some kind of heavy metal. Toxine that once sang real high pitched has now sunken deep into the vaults of what his voice can manage and he almost chants the lyrics. They highlights of the album are the songs “Stigmatized”, “Draw Blood”, “Plague Ride”, “Damned in Hell”, “Immortal Death” and “Cannonfodder” and they are everything I wanted the whole album to be. All of those songs are of the same fantastic thrash metal Witchery started out with and Toxine sounds as evil as ever before. Other songs are “Immortal Death” which is a cover by a Satanic Slaughter song and three instrumental songs, “Disturbing the Beast”, “The Wait Of The Pyramids” and “War Piece” are included. Once again have the guys did the recording in Berno Studio in Malmö Sweden. The mixing was made by the well known Dane Tue Madsen in his own studio Antfarm and just like Berno knows exactly what to do and the result on both production and mixing side are brilliant.
There are a few great tracks on DON’T FEAR THE REAPER but they can’t carry the album all the way. The guys must have been sleeping when they wrote this because this is not the way Witchery usually sounds or should sound for that matter. This is a given purchase for fans of heavy grinding heavy metal with hints of thrash/death, I’m sorry to say that instead of recommending this album to anyone I instead advise you to check out the 2 first albums. Otherwise, this album strictly for fans of Jensen (The Haunted) or Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy).