Reviewed: January 1, 2023
Released: October 15, 2022, Beverina Productions
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Ahh the winter months are upon us and that means we are in the full swing of black metal season. The cold, dark atmosphere is what draws me to that genre in the winter. Don’t get me wrong, any day is a good day or black metal, its just winter days are better. The key word when it comes to black metal is atmosphere. I’m not a huge fan of the term atmospheric black metal because ALL black metal should have some atmosphere, some just more than others. Hungary’s WITCHER is one of those bands who is labeled atmospheric black metal and in this case the term fits. Formed in 2010, this duo released a couple of demos and an EP before releasing their debut full length in 2015. Lelekharang is their third full length and it is this album that introduced me to this great project.
Having never heard their previous work, I was curious as to what I would find on this album. Internet reviews of this band have been very favorable as well. So I dug into this album and got a huge surprise. Why is this band not getting more attention? After the brief intro we get into the first actual song, “Hamvak.” Right away I was almost entranced in the music. The riffing is tremolo riffing and its really melodic with the keyboards providing support where it needs and to drive some of the song when it needs to. The vocals are harsh black metal vocals, but not so harsh as to come off as brutal or aggressive. Instead, it comes off as a thing of beauty. The melodies of the riffs and the way the keys are used is just incredible. At over seven and a half minutes in length, it doesn’t come off as epic. Instead it comes off as more like a soundtrack to a journey into the past.
As we move deeper into the album we are taken further away on this journey in the form of the title track. Starting off with just a loan piano, you can feel the atmosphere by the time the riffs kick in. More melodic tremolos with the keys riding along for that added melody. Here is an example not just strong songwriting but flawless execution. This song is just over 10 minutes in length and really sums up this band and album. Some would say that this song could be longer than it needs to but I feel differently. This song, as the rest of the songs on this album, are meant to take you away and have you get lost in the music. This is where beauty and aggression meet with incredible results. But what really blew me away while listening to this album was the closer. When it started I felt an eerie familiarity with this song until I realized this is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata Op. 27. No. 2. I. Adagio sostenuto, done in the same way the rest of the album was done, with flawless execution and an amazing way to close this brilliant album.
This is an album I have had for some time because I thought it really needed to fully sink in before I could do it justice with a review. All I know is that each time I put it on, I was transported away from everything and just got lost in the music. That really does not assist me much with my review, but it was an incredible experience each time.