"‘Dance With The Devil”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Swiss valkyries BURNING WITCHES are back with their second attack following their “Hexenhammer” debut. There’s already been a change at the top, as leather-lunged lead singer Sereina has gone to Valhalla, leaving new vocalist Laura in her place. Laura’s a very good singer, with an earthier tone than Sereina, but the simple fact is she is just not as intense or operatic as Sereina was, so that changes the equation right away.

“Dance With The Devil” sees the band continue to mix traditional PRIEST/ACCEPT styled crunch with a Euro power metal feel ala HAMMERFALL. After a pointless intro, the band snaps into action with a fast and furious “Lucid Nightmare”, which is a great slice of speedy power metal. The killer title track follows with a soaring, upbeat melody and the best vocal hooks I have heard yet from BURNING WITCHES...the chorus is classic. This was looking to be a world beater, but then the rather average “Wings of Steel” and “Six Feet Under” chime in and the turgid ballad “Black Magic” kills the momentum deader than an armadillo on a Texas highway.

The band follows this swing between average and good for the rest of the album. “Sea of Lies” and the HAMMERFALL-ish “Final Fight” don’t register much, but “Sisters of Fate” is great ACCEPT-style metal with maximum crunch and “Necronomicon” has got more outstanding vocal hooks. The album winds up with a surprising cover of MANOWAR’s “Battle Hymns” that feature none other than Ross the Boss himself as well as Mike’s a faithful cover made interesting by layered female vocals.

So “Dance With the Devil” sees BURNING WITCHES holding steady, but not really advancing sharply over “Hexenhammer”.