Burning Witches – 'The Witch Of The North' Album Review
1. Winter’s Wrath
2. The Witch Of The North
3. Tainted Ritual
4. We Stand As One
5. Flight Of The Valkyries
6. The Circle Of Five
7. Lady Of The Woods
10. Nine World
11. For Eternity
12. Dragon’s Dream
13. Eternal Frost
14. Hall Of The Mountain King
Well it seems as if Burning Witches have been supremely productive in the last year or so, as their last full length album “Dance With The Devil” came out only a year ago! But here we are again with a whole new album from them, so how does it fare? The first thing to say is that this isn’t some kind of monumental shift – this album is not a huge step forward or a reinvention or anything like that. The general feel is that it’s more of the same, which is absolutely fine by me, as I gave the previous album four stars.
It did feel like a bit of a slow starter at the beginning – the album starts with a short instrumental, and then launches into “The Witch Of The North”, which I found quite unmemorable sadly. It certainly wasn’t the kind of opening track that grabs you and makes sure you are heavily invested in the album to come. “Tainted Ritual” picks up a bit, and felt like a better track, before we hit the first great track on the album – “We Stand As One”.
I’m often aware that when I review things, my favourite tracks tend to be balls to the wall, fast and heavy headbangers, but “We Stand As One” is a different ball game entirely. Yes it’s a perfect candidate for headbanging, but rather than being fast and powerful, it is slower but extremely anthemic. I can picture crowds singing along to this one at gigs!
The good news is, that from this point onwards, the album continues hovering around the good/great level for a chunk of the running time. “Flight Of The Valkyries” tries to trick you that it’s going to be a ballad of some kind, until about a minute and a half in, when the galloping guitars kick in and take it into a new direction. “The Circle Of Five” feels like an eighties girl power anthem for witches, and while “Lady Of The Woods” is the obligatory mid-album ballad, it is very well constructed and perfectly placed.
“Thrall” is my favourite song on the album by a mile, even better than “We Stand As One” with beautiful riffage, melodic solos and a powerful rhythm section that keep the entire thing in perfect control. The other two songs that really stand out for me in the back half of the album are “Dragon’s Dream” and “Hall Of The Mountain King” – both of which I feel are strong.
So in conclusion, this is an album that will satiate anyone’s appetite for female-fronted eighties style Metal. I don’t think it is quite as strong as their previous attempt, as it feels slightly overstuffed with a couple of filler tracks, and the opening of the album is one of the weaker areas of the overall thing. On the positive side, the band sound amazing, they are clearly very talented, and when they get it right they absolutely get it right one hundred percent. This album is worth your time, but don’t expect anything revolutionary.
Website - burningwitches.ch
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/burningwitches666
Review - Michael Braunton