There is a difference between Heavy Metal and Power/Progressive Metal and some bands can pull it off and others not so well. Dark Witch fall into the latter category, as the tracks tend to sound very similar so it is difficult to determine one track from the next, although the chugs are good, the vocals tend to be rather weak in comparison and for me let the music down.
Normally, I would be eager and enthusiastic to sit through 13 metal tracks – but only 4 tracks in I find my mind wandering, which isn’t a good sign, and come to the conclusion that this perhaps sadly, is not the album for me.
However, I decided to carry on listening out of ‘some’ loyalty to the band and the 5th track ‘Firestorm’ is an energetic, undulating frenzy of erupting notes that blend into a monster of a track, with catchy chorus, so things could be looking up.
‘Stronghold’ holds some great bass hooks and thunderous chugs but other than that it doesn’t really expel any magic – maybe not looking up then!
The next track ‘Blood Sentence’ is an ambient spine tingling track that changes direction and produces a heavy chugging moment but sadly, it sort of stagnates after that and not a rebel rouser as first thought.
‘Liberty of Death’ is a faster paced track that quickly loses momentum and blurs insignificantly into a black hole.
‘Lighthouse Reaper’ Good title with a run of frets that open at the beginning but little else to satisfy after that.
‘Death Rain’ quickly bounds into the spotlight with some great effects and a pounding drum beat, along with a chant but doesn’t really hit the grade as its monotonous pounding goes on a bit too long.
‘Siegrfied’ Sounds like a chorus of monks in a monastery at the start and then turns into a rampaging chug, but leaves you a little flat as the track unfolds further.
‘To Valhalla we Ride’ holds more of the same and for me doesn’t cut the mustard.
‘Voz de Consciencia’ closes the album with some enchanting strings, superb bass hook and sung in the bands mother tongue, which is good to listen to another language with a heavy beat behind it, despite not knowing what is being sung – this for me is the best track on the album.
Overall, I am not sure if this album should be classed as heavy metal but maybe more prog/power metal as it paints more of a progressive picture.
It isn’t an album that can be listened to lightly and needs a lot of concentration attached to it. However if I was asked to pic a favourite track it would most certainly be the final one ‘Voz de Consciencia’ which means ‘Voice of Conscience’ and stands out for being different only by its foreign lyrics, but maybe the band should sing all their tracks in Portugese and then the album would contain a certain mystery, instead of, in places holding a deep monotonous tone that is OK for a bit but drags on a little too long.
The vocals also kill the tracks for me, as it’s really too highly pitched and fussy, maybe the tracks need a more bass tone attached to them in order to take them a bit more seriously.
It is a shame really as the music isn’t all-out bad, but it just doesn’t compel me to want to keep listening. Although there are some ‘good’ moments in there if you want to trawl through and check them out.