BEWITCHER - Bewitcher

Bewitcher - Bewitcher

9 songs
33:27 minutes
***** ****
Diabolic Might


Usually I donít review albums that have already been released a year ago, but I decided that I have to make an exception for Bewitcher, a black speed metal band from Portland, Oregan. Coming from a part in the USA often associated with hipsters and their organic food from farmersí markets, this trio feels like a total kick in the ass of that modernist lifestyle. Instead, Bewitcher are inspired by the NWOBHM and the very early roots of black metal: Mercyful Fate, Bathory and Venom. Especially the latter have left an immense impact on their sound. Venom were an undeniable cult band with an idiosyncratic sound, but letís be honest: not all of their songs were really good. And thatís where we can consider Bewitcher a remedy to that situation. Their idea of black speed metal absolutely makes sense. The basic mood of the music is earliest black metal, with raw, venomous vocals spewed over the harsh music, and unlike Venom, Bewitcher play it fast all of the time, with a certain punk or MotŲrhead attitude attached to it all.

The bandís eponymous debut album may not be very long. The nine songs make it to a little over half an hour, but donít even expect one second of boredom on this album. The opener Bewitcher starts with a one-minute intro reminding of horror B-movies from the Eighties, before the actual song surprises with its upbeat groovy feeling and an unforgettable chorus. And thatís the major strength of the band: nearly all of their songs have these ultra-catchy moments that make them instant classics. Of course, they are a retro band, and also fully aware of the fact, but you donít often come across vintage metal that not only builds on a solid foundation, but even improves on it.

So whenever I feel like listening to Venom, I either check out their singles compilation or their classic live album Eine kleine Nachtmusik. But now I have the option to listen to Bewitcher, who possibly sound better than Venom ever did. If this is black speed metal, consider me a convert!

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