Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

stormwitch

CD review DARK FOREST "Beyond the Veil"

Veröffentlicht am 29. August 2016 von Markus W. in Dark Forest, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Classic Rock, NWoBHM, CD Review, News, Stormwitch, Witchhunter

(8/10) If you belong to the group of metalheads that includes Stormwitch's "The Beauty and the Beast" to their personal favorites than you should check-out this album. After the first notes of "Beyond the Veil" I felt like being back in the 80's when the guys from Gerstetten, Germany had their peak moment.

For the ones of you that never heard about Dark Forest up till now, it's a five-piece band from Dudley, England that started back in 2002. "Beyond the Veil" is the fourth full-length album of these five metal maniacs, following the 2014 release "The Awakening". Main trademarks of Dark Forest's music is traditional metal that includes some folk elements and medieval inspiration. The end result feels like the old Stormwitch sound from the early days have been beamed into the here and now. "Beyond the Veil" comes across as an harmonic and authentic metal album that includes a higher entertainment factor.

"Blackthorn", as one example, is a melodic uptempo metal anthem with great hooks and the right dose of heaviness. But there's some Blind Guardian included as well. The fast "The Wild Hunt" is due to its speed one of these tracks that reminds the listener of the guys from Krefeld. Also the acoustic middle part is a well placed break that shows some Iron Maiden influences - something that makes things just more exciting.

Also to mention are Josh Winnard's vocals - it's a wide range he can cover and it's the high pitches he hits spot-on. This guy is one of the biggest assets of Dark Forest.

All in all I must say that I'm impressed of what the guys put on "Beyond the Veil". This is true traditional metal in the best meaning of the word. Dark Forest revives early days of metal and a lot of personal memories.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. On the Edge of Twilight
  2. Where the Arrow Falls
  3. Autumn's Crown
  4. Blackthron
  5. Lunantishee
  6. The Wild Hunt
  7. Earthbound
  8. The Undying Flame
  9. Men-an-Tol
  10. Beyond the Veil
  11. Ellylldan
  12. The Lore of the Land

 

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: August 26th, 2016

CD review DARK FOREST "Beyond the Veil"
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CD review WITCHBOUND "Tarot's legacy"

Veröffentlicht am 1. Mai 2015 von Markus W. in Witchbound, Stormwitch, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, German Metal, CD Review, News

(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 :)

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Introduction
  2. Dance into the fire
  3. Mauritania
  4. Jesters day
  5. To search for the grail
  6. Holy ground
  7. Keep the pyre burning
  8. Petite bouree
  9. Mandrakes fire
  10. Wrath of the northmen
  11. Die sword in hand
  12. Sands of time
  13. Stranded
  14. Trail of stars

 

Label: El Puerto Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

 

Witchbound Homepage

 

CD review WITCHBOUND "Tarot's legacy"
Photo: Mathias Vogel (Promotion)

Photo: Mathias Vogel (Promotion)

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Oscar Dronjak adds guitar solo to WITCHBOUND album

Veröffentlicht am 28. April 2015 von Markus W. in Witchbound, Stormwitch, Hammerfall, News, Heavy Metal, Power Metal

That Hammerfall are fans of Stormwitch isn't a secret. That's why it isn't a big surprise that Oscar Dronjak contibuted with a guitar solo to the upcoming album from Witchbound. You will hear him on "Keep the pyre burning".

 

Photo by Tallee Savage

Photo by Tallee Savage

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CD review STORMWITCH "Season of the witch"

Veröffentlicht am 9. Januar 2015 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, Heavy Metal, Dark Metal, Rock, Power Metal, CD Review, News

(6/10) “Season of the witch” is the title of the tenth Stormwitch album. After eleven years the iconic band from Southern Germany has recorded eleven new songs which will be released in these days.

Since the band comes from my hometown Heidenheim, Germany, I followed them throughout their whole career. The first records have been, and still are, milestones in metal history; inspiring bands like e.g Swedish Hammerfall. And unforgettable the signing session in the local record shop '33 1/3' in 1987 during "The beauty and the beast" release.

With “Dancing with the witches” the 'masters of black romatic' had a pretty good comeback album in 2002 and I was curious if their second comeback would be as good as the first one.

Hmm. Honestly “Season of the witch” gave me a hard time. Maybe it’s not really fair to compare the todays band with Stormwitch from the 80’s. Things have changed and the line-up looks totally different today. Nowadays it’s Andy Mück and Jürgen Wannenwetsch on bass being the only active founding members in the band.

However, my excitement was pretty high when I heard that there will be a new record after more than a decade. But I also have to say, that it doesn’t really live up to my expectations.

The album has, without any doubt, some really good songs. The title track “Season of the witch” is one of those. Starting with a powerful drum solos and a crunchy riff the song is a true metal anthem. Also the catchiness of the song goes hand in hand with the heavyness of the song.

"At the end of the world" is another song that is worth to mention. The melodic rocker reminds a bit to "The beauty and the beast" times.

Another track that stands out is the slow "The trail of tears". It's the pounding rhythm that characterise the tune and the keyboards remind a bit to Rainbow /Deep Purple (during the "Perfect strangers" phase). The exciting guitar solo is the cherry on the cake. "The trail of tears" is, together with the title track", the best song on the longplayer.

But there are also more average tracks on the album. The opener “Evil spirit” and also “True until the end” are missing the punch Stormwitch had in the beginning. Both tracks can't live up to the level of the before mentioned ones and "Evil spirit" is one of the most trivial openers I have heard for a long time. Also the intro to the song is very special. It is the 'Hexeneinmaleins' from Goethe's "Faust I". which feels a bit misplaced.

With “Runescape” the album has a real downer. OMG. When I heard the track I had to check if my mp3 player was in a shuffle mode and moved to an album from a modern pop-rock band. The song is sticky sweet and has a true pop appeal. The gap between the heavy title track and “Runescape” couldn’t be bigger. This was even too much for me who considers “The beauty and the beast” as an excellent album in the bands discography.

So, there is light and there is shadow on “Season of the witch”. In general I have to say that the album doesn’t reach the level of “Dancing with the witches” and doesn’t reach the level of the iconic first albums either. It’s partly a solid melodic metal record. Not more, but also not less.

 

(6/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Evil spirit
  2. Taliesin
  3. Last warrior
  4. True until the end
  5. Season of the witch
  6. Runescape
  7. At the end of the world
  8. The trail of tears
  9. Harper in the wind
  10. The singer’s curse (Digipak Bonus)
  11. Different eyes (Digipak Bonus)

 

Label: Massacre Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

CD review STORMWITCH "Season of the witch"
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STORMWITCH reveals cover of their new album

Veröffentlicht am 26. Oktober 2014 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, News

The masters of black romance - Stormwitch - revealed on Facebook the cover of their new upcoming album called "Season of the witch".

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New STORMWITCH album

Veröffentlicht am 26. September 2014 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, Heavy Metal, Rock, News

The masters of black romance from Germany - Stormwitch - signed a contract with Massacre Records. There is a new album in the pipeline called "Season of the witch". The record will be released in January 2015.

New STORMWITCH album
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Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013

Veröffentlicht am 8. Oktober 2013 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, Heavy Metal, Live Review, News

It was a special night in Giengen, Germany on October 5. Stormwitch invited to a tribute show to honour Harald Spengler, also known as Lee Tarot. Harald was from the very beginning one of the two guitarists of The Masters Of Black Romantic and he was a crucial part of the band when it comes to the songwriting. He died all at once earlier this year.

With Harald the band celebrated quite some successful moment during 80’s and inspired current bands like e.g. Hammerfall with their sound.

The opener for this remarkable evening was an acoustic guitar duo with a female singer, playing cover version from rock classics. They did a good job, but of course everybody came for Stormwitch.

When the band entered the stage the venue was almost fully packed with fans, friends, family,... It was great to see all those old Stormwitch shirts. It felt like a journey back into my youth :o)

According to the promoter it was around 900 people. A good base for a great show. The first part of the show was done by the current setup of the band. They opened with the title track of the ‘Dancing with the witches’ album. A good choice. After the opener the band lined-up on the stage and Andy Mueck spoke a few nice words for Harald. It was a real touching moment. The rest of the first part of the show was a mix between classics (‘Ravenlord’) and new stuff (‘Witchcraft’). The sound was good and the fans were in a good mood. The only thing which was surprising was the little stage acting of the band. There was hardly any movement on the stage and the band seemed to be quite passive. Was it that the band didn’t play that much shows so far in this line-up or have they been nervous? Don’t know. But I hope, that they will work on this for the future shows.

After a short speech of the Lee Tarot’s sister, part 2 of the show started. This was the moment everybody was waiting for. Stormwitch in the classic old line-up which means Stefan Kauffmann, alias Steve Merchant, on guitar , Andreas Mueck on vocals, Peter ‘Pete Lancer’ Langer behind the drum kit, Ronny Gleisberg on bass and Stoney, who took Lee Tarot’s part, on the second guitar. The amazing thing was the shift of energy in the band. It was great to see how much fun esp. Kauffmann and Gleisberg brought into the group. There were great songs, energetic stage acting and a crowd which really appreciated what they heard and saw. The magic of the Masters Of Black Romantic was back, supported even by some pyro effects. The ‘old’ line-up made the current band almost look like a Stormwitch cover band. I wish, that this would not be just a one-time-event, but it also should challenge the current band to take the energy with them to their coming shows and activities. With ‘Walpurgis night’ an extraordinary show ended, but I think, that if you would have asked the fans, Stormwitch could have been playing forever that night.

And the evening made another thing very obvious. That was the strong impact of Harald Spengler on the songwriting. All the old classics of the band are just outstanding and the new tracks don't get close to them.

And as said already, my hope is, that the band takes all the positive energy and bring them into the new songs, the new record and the upcoming shows. 

It was an extraordinary evening and it was an excellent idea to organise and to play this tribute show. Great for the fans and a great gesture towards Harald (RIP). A night to remember.

 

Setlist:

Part 1:

Dance with the witches
King in the ring
Evil Spirit
Witchcraft
Ravenlord
Fallen from God
Russia’s on fire
King of winds
Taleysin

 

Part 2:

Tears by the firelight
Eye of the storm
Stronger than heaven
Trust in the fire
Sword of Sagon
Emerald eye
Drum Solo
The beauty and the beast
Call of the wicked
Walpurgis night

 

Date: 05.10.2013

Venue: Walter Schmid Halle, Giengen, Germany

Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
Live review STORMWITCH Giengen 05.10.2013
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STORMWITCH on stage - live post

Veröffentlicht am 5. Oktober 2013 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, News

STORMWITCH on stage - live post
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STORMWITCH and friends in Giengen

Veröffentlicht am 5. Oktober 2013 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, Tour

STORMWITCH and friends in Giengen

Yesterday I arrived in Heidenheim, the next bigger city to Giengen. I'm very much looking forward to the show tonight. I'm curious about the setlist and all the other highlights. Let's see.

A review and photos will follow soon.

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German metal in Crailsheim in December

Veröffentlicht am 13. September 2013 von Markus W. in Grave Digger, Heavy Metal, Kissin Dynamite, Stormwitch

Check this out. A cool small German metal event in Crailsheim, Germany after x-mas.

German metal in Crailsheim in December
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Interview STORMWITCH: News and plans for the future

Veröffentlicht am 17. Juli 2013 von Markus W. in Stormwitch, Interview, News

Stormwitch, the "Masters of Black Romantic", is a heavy metal band which was founded in 1979 in Gerstetten, Germany. The band was very successful during the 80's and inspired quite some other bands, like e.g. Hammerfall. Albums like "Walpurgis night", "Tales of terror" and also the more mainstream album "The beauty and the beast" need to be part of every serious CD collection.
From 2005 on it became quiet around Stormwitch. There were several line-up changes and actually some fans were doubting if the band still exists.
A few days ago I had the chance to ask guitarist Ralf "Stoney" Spitznagel about the current status and the future of the band. It seems that we can expect quite a lot in the coming months. Stormwitch i
s back.


Markus' Heavy Music Blog: Stoney, how is it going with you and the band?

Stoney: Thanks for asking. We are feeling great and everybody is very happy with the current line-up.

MHMB: It was very quiet about Stormwitch during the last years. Tell us a little bit about the current status of the band. Is Stormwitch still existing?

Stoney: Definitely yes. Stormwitch was always in business. We never stopped with the band. Of course we were less present between 2005 and 2010, but than things changed.
Since 2010 Andi (Andreas Mück - vocals), Wanschi (Jürgen Wannewetsch - bass) and myself were pretty busy with Stormwitch. In 2012 Peter (Peter Langer - drums) joined the band again and since a few weeks we have with Volker our second guitar player on bo
ard.


MHMB: Stoney, what happened since your last album in 2004?

Stoney: A lot of things happened. Andy was writing new songs and also brought Wanschi, who was the bass player in the very first line-up, back into the band. In 2005 we played an open-air show in Gerstetten and we had a radio interview with Radio Freudenstadt. But it took us time to get a steady line-up for getting back to attack.


MHMB: Talking about a steady line-up. Who is in the current line-up?

Stoney: The band members are:
Andy - vocals
Stoney - guitar (ex-Tyran Pace, Chinchilla, Black Abyss)
Volker - guitar (ex-Late Night Romoe, Chinchilla)
Wanschi - bass
Peter - drums
We can definitely say that this is a stable line-up. It makes a lot of fun playing together as one unit. Our fans in Czechia will be the first ones seeing us back on stage with an enthusiastic show. Right now we have the reheasals for this show and I can pr
omise a 'wall of sound'.


MHMB: It's now almost 10 years since Stormwitch released their latest album. Can we expect a new record in the near future?

Stoney: Yes. We are working on the recordings for a new album as we speak and we hope to release already a mini CD end of this year.


MHMB: That means that you have written already new songs?

Stoney: Yes indeed. We have a lot of new songs and we will play some of them already during our live shows. We have "Evil spirit" which sounds very much like the old Stormwitch songs and we have a mid-tempo song called "Taleysin" with a drop tuning. Furthermore we have a great rock song called "Runescape", which has a catchy melody. "Last warrior" is a straight-forward song which I have written already in the Black Abyss days.


MHMB: For October 5 you announced a concert in Giengen, which will be a tribute show for Harald Spengler (who died a few month ago). Who had the idea for such a show?

Stoney: Of course the whole thing has a very sad background. The basic idea was born during the funeral of Harald. Ronny (Gleisberg) and Stefan (Kauffmann) spoke to Peter about it and than they approached me for getting my opinion about the idea. I've talked about it with Andy and we all came to the conclusion that it is a great idea. We can show our respect to Harald by doing such a concert. This means that Stormwitch will play that night in almost the line-up of the old days. This is sensationsal! The only change is that I will replace Harald, which is a great honour for me and I'm very much looking forward to it.
We will play actually 2 sets. The first part will be the current Stormwitch band, followed by the original line-up from the old days. This will be Andy, Stefan, Ronny, Peter and mys
elf.


MHMB: Sounds great. What can we expect?

Stoney: Everybody can expect a fantastic show and an unforgettable evening.


MHMB: How will the setlist look like? Will you play all the old classics?

Stoney: We don't want to say too much at this stage, but I can tell you that we will play songs which we haven't played till ages and some we haven't even played live at all so far. Just join the show. It will become a memorable night.


MHMB: Have you also planned more live shows?

Stoney: This will be the only show in the original line-up. All the ones who want to see the band in this setting need to join the October 5 show.
But we will play with the current band also a show in Czechia on August 24 and we will be in "Uwe's Rockshow" at Radio Freudenstadt on September 29
.


MHMB: That means that we can expect much more again from Stormwitch in the coming months? The band has of course still a lot of fans out there.

Stoney: Oh yes, definitely. And we are already in negotiation for more shows in 2014.


MHMB: Stoney, thanks for spending some time with me and I think we are all looking forward to October 5.

Interview STORMWITCH: News and plans for the future
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