(8/10) What can be better for a band called Witchbound than having the release party for a new album on Walpurgisnight? Exactly, nothing. Witchbound is a 'new' metal band from Germany, that isn't that new. For the ones of you being a bit older the words 'witch' and 'Tarot' have a certain meaning and very close connection. It was axeman Lee Tarot (Harald Spengler, RIP) who was a main pillar of Germany's Masters Of Black Romantic - in other word Stormwitch. As you know, Tarot died far too early and it was in 2013 when Stormwitch played a special show in Giengen, Germany to dignify Tarot and his music. As a part of this show also the older members of Stormwitch came together again on stage and played a few songs from the early days. This was a pretty impressive moment and it seems that it also made an impact on the band members as well. There was some magic in the air.
One and a half year later it is Stefan Kauffmann, Ronny Gleisberg, Peter Langer and Martin Winkler that started Witchbound. The band is completed by Thorsten Lichtner who is doing the vocals. The guys decided that they will finish the last story Spengler wrote. Working together for a while it became more and more obvious that the cooperation feels like much more than only a project. It felt like growing together again as a band - the start of Witchbound.
But let the music talk. Eleven songs, mainly written or co-written by Tarot, made it on "Tarot's legacy"; plus three intros/intermezzos. In total you will get 50 minutes of German heavy metal that reflects the typical Stormwitch trademarks from the early days. Especially some melodylines and riffs made me feel twenty five years younger.
Starting with a rumbling thunder and some giggling witches you face the first real song with "Dance into the fire". The opener reminds a bit to Accept since it has a pounding rhythm and great guitars. Together with the melodic vocals lines it is a tune that works from the very first moment on. The melodic "Mauritania" is next and shows again that Tarot had a the sense for great riffs, perfectly drawn to attention by Witchbound. A highlight for me is the slower "To search for the gound". This tune shows very much the parallels to Stormwitch, esp. the bridge and partly the chorus too.
"Holy ground" with the Arabic influences sounds pretty good as well. Also here you can find the "black romantic" roots from Gerstetten back. The number belongs to the more fast-paced ones on the album and is an 'axcellent' headbanger. The same goes for the heavy "Die sword in hand". Based on a mighy riff the tune itself is a very dynamic one that rocks. I could continue like this because I haven't found any bad song on "Tarot's legacy". The mystical "Sands of time" or the ballad "Trails of stars" - each of them good stuff. And not for nothing it was Hammerfall guitarist Oscar Dronjak who contributed with a guitar solo to "Keep the pyre burning".
What I also need to mention is singer Thorsten Lichtner. He does a pretty good job on the longplayer. His voice fits perfect to music of Witchbound by still being himself.
You can sense that I really like the album since it is has the charm of the earlier Stormwitch combined with modern elements and sounds. The result is a powerful and entertaining album that makes fun to listen to - from beginning to end. All fans of traditional heavy metal need to check this album. It is worth it. Well done guys and hopefully the start for even more in the future (how about a show at the Keep It True?).
Oschdalb rocks :)
- Dance into the fire
- Jesters day
- To search for the grail
- Holy ground
- Keep the pyre burning
- Petite bouree
- Mandrakes fire
- Wrath of the northmen
- Die sword in hand
- Sands of time
- Trail of stars
Label: El Puerto Records
Genre: Heavy Metal