“Muhahaha … We’re taking back the metal.”
And with that declaration (or is it a warning?), the Seven Witches kick off their latest album, Xiled To Infinity And One. Seven Witches is a supergroup of sorts, a forging of the minds of Jack Frost (Metallium, Savatage) and Wade Black (Crimson Glory).
Comparisons with Savatage and Crimson Glory are unavoidable. Seven Witches says this album is a tribute to all the things they used to listen to, and with that in mind, I’d say they listened to a lot of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Metal Church. In a recent interview on Metal-Rules.com, Jack Frost commented on the band’s sound by saying, “We’re not a progressive band, we’re not a 70’s band. We’re just a metal band. We’re not modern. We are old school but we’re not. We’re ‘Seven Witches.'”
An excerpt from the band’s promo material proves this point. “The fruit of [the band’s] labor is Xiled To Infinity And One, a metal album guaranteed to wake up the children of the Korn. Harkening back to a simpler time, when guitars and impressive vocal ranges ruled the scene, not image and three chord riffing.”
A jab at Korn fans right on the back of the promo sleeve? They can’t be all bad …
Xiled To Infinity And One cranks through ten burning tracks, one after another. The CD opens with the track “Metal Tyrant”, which also contains the lyrics “Metal God” in the chorus. Personally, I think it would have made a hell of a title track for Rock Star (whose working title was Metal God). The CD is well paced, varying it’s tempo from track to track. The lumbering, mysterious sounding title track is followed by the chunky riffs of “Warmth of Winter”, which itself leads into the mammoth drum and bass sounds of “Anger’s Door”.
Guitars on this album are very riff oriented. Not much palm muting here, just nice, open, roaring riffs with plenty of wah and whammy thrown in — a nice nod to the days of old. Solos are there, but not everywhere; just thrown in wherever needed. The drums hop, pop, and gallop for the entire length of the disc. Double bass is used sparingly but effectively. The vocal style is totally old school. Those not familiar with “singing” may find it a bit confusing, but in the days of old, vocalists actually used their “voices” as “instruments”. I know it’s hard to believe, but they actually had a range! All kidding aside, the vocals are wonderful. Any old Priest or Maiden fans will be smiling the entire time. Wade gives the old masters of the style a run for their money, and certainly keeps the metal torch alive. The lyrics are also a tribute to the olden days, with plenty of medieval references to keep old schoolers happy, but enough new material to not bore the rest of us.
Instead of covering an 80’s dance tune like every other band has been doing lately, Seven Witches give a wink to their heritage by covering Grim Reaper’s “See You In Hell”. Although ever-so-slightly updated, the Witches’ version is very loyal. Maybe they’re showing their loyalty to their roots?
Xiled To Infinity And One was produced by Jack Frost, mixed by Joey Vera (Armored Saint/Fates Warning), and contains appearances by Joe Comeau (Annihilator) and Jon Oliva (Savatage). The Witches are not alone in their crusade. On top of all that support, Sanctuary has signed them to a two album deal, which means we’ll be hearing more new retro rockin’ from the group in the future.
There seems to be a growing charge to “take back the metal”, and it would seem that Seven Witches are at the head of that brigade. Back before nu-metal, power metal, progressive metal, black metal, death metal, and every other kind of metal, there was just metal. If you lived for those days, this is as close as you can get to going back.
01. Metal Tyrant
04. Xiled To Infinity And One
05. Warmth Of Winter
06. Anger’s Door
07. Eyes Of An Angel
09. The Burning
10. See You In Hell