SEVEN WITCHES – Call Upon The Wicked
- by Matt Coe
- Posted on 01-07-2011
The stars align with journeyman vocalist James Rivera and guitarist Jack Frost to team up once again within Seven Witches. Next to the first SW vocalist Bobby Lucas, I always thought this would be the best one-two punch for the traditional metal outfit. I had the good fortune of seeing Seven Witches three times with Rivera fronting the band, including his premiere appearance on a co-headlining set for the second Classic Metal Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. For the eighth full length “Call Upon The Wicked”, you pretty much know you’ll get a mixture of soaring, Halford-influenced vocals, riffs that focus on catching your attention with hooks and a steady rhythm section driving all the material home safely.
“Fields Of Fire” opens with piercing fierceness, and the title track has more of a classic Sabbath-like 70’s feel with the chorus bringing home a gang-like harmony. On the other side of the fence you will get an almost AOR/ soft rock chorus for “Ragnarock” which sounds very out of place against Rivera’s killer screams, a guest female/ male duet for the 9:01 “End Of Days” Dio-influenced epic that stretches the conventional straightforward Seven Witches compositional skills and the juvenile profanity laced “Mind Games” that is too tough guy/ groove core oriented for my metal tastes. I think Seven Witches should explore more of the faster, energetic numbers like “Harlot Of Troy”, because even when they shift the tempos down a gear or two you still feel an uncontrollable windmill need with either your hair, hand or fists in these arrangements.
The “White Room” cover I can take or leave (the drumming is too stiff and the arrangement reeks of through the motions), and the live bonus material isn’t worth the time to invest in it because the production level is barely above second generation rehearsal quality. The great material shines though – so maybe this is a case where the veterans just need to reacquaint themselves to hit the level of “Passage To The Other Side”.