"Call Upon the Wicked"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Seven Witches is back in action! It's been a while and I feared that maybe we had heard the last of Jack Frost's killer traditional metal band. But I chewed my fingernails for nothing, because "Call Upon The Wicked" is Seven Witches at their screaming metallic best.

Jack has retained the services of singer extraordinaire James Rivera, which is a HUGE plus, because Rivera fits this band like a glove. He's also added bassist Mike LePond from the legendary Symphony X and drummer Taz Marazz, who does great despite his cartoony name. These guys have churned out a record for everybody who ever banged their head for Judas Priest, Dio's Sabbath, Helstar, Armored Saint and the like. "Fields of Fire" grinds things into gear with a crunchy tale of bloody warfare and Rivera screaming his head off. Lots of fast and jamming tunes on tap this time around, with "Harlot of Troy" being perhaps the quickest and most aggressive Witches song ever. A real classic, the album's best! "Ragnarock", "Lilith" and the stinging "Mind Games" are not far behind at all and Jack makes his fingers bleed with rapid fire picking and soloing. I really missed hearing this guy in action the last few years!

The album's epic is "End of Days", which throws every style of classic metal you could think of into the mix, from ballad to Maidenish gallop to something just fucking huge and mighty. Female vocals fit very smoothly into the tune and I believe that is also a first for Seven Witches. The studio portion of the disc wraps up with a speeded up cover of Cream's "White Room", where the vocals sound a wee bit off but Frost jams like a man possessed. We then get three live versions of classic Witches tunes. The sound is not all that great, but you can definitely tell that Rivera can pull off everything live he does in the studio.

Pretty much an indispensable release for the true metal fan and an absolute must for anybody who's enjoyed Seven Witches in the past. Don't take so long for the next one!