Swiss/Dutch metallers Burning Witches are back, confounding the many naysayers they’ve encountered along the way to present us with their third full-length offering. Firmly ensconced in the Nuclear Blast family now – with all the marketing heft that that state of affairs ensures – the band can afford themselves a little smirk at having got this far.
For Dance With The Devil, not much has changed for Burning Witches. Even the presence of new vocalist Laura Guldemond doesn’t alter the basic premise of the band, which as ever is to chug out some firmly traditional power metal with the odd melodic touch.
If one can detect a slight shift, it’s the fact that Guldemond handles the lighter material with real aplomb. In fact, the balladic Black Magic would appear to be nothing less than a bare-faced attempt to wrench the female metal crown from Doro’s head with an impetuousness that borders on the impudent. Ms Pesch has a good few years in her yet – especially if reports of her live form onboard the recent Monsters of Rock Cruise are to be believed – but that doesn’t stop Burning Witches from taking a tilt at her throne with this track. You have to admire their cheek if nothing else…
Six Feet Underground is another ear-friendly take on the trad metal template, and is similarly entertaining and successful. However for most of the rest of the album the band slip in to their familiar, chugging verse-faster chorus-neat solo modus operandi; guitarists Romana Kalkuhl and Sonia Nusselder once again provide a neat backdrop to the vocal main event; their chugging rhythmic assault on the catchy Sisters of Fate is sure to get a bit of air guitar activity going wherever it happens to be heard.
As ever there’s a cover version thrown in to underline the band’s blood ties to the old Gods; This time they are even assisted by one of said cover’s writers… However Manowar’s Battle Hymn might just be a bit too adventurous for the band, even with a bit of lead guitar assistance from none other than Ross The Boss himself. Something more in line with the band’s own sound – Blood of My Enemies, maybe, or even Hail and Kill – would have drawn larger dividends.
In the final washup, whilst it would be true to say that the song remains largely the same for Burning Witches on album number three, there are real signs of growth and expansion within the band’s chosen theatre of operations; similar growth on album number four will mean we’ve got something quite exciting on our hands…
Dance With the Devil is released on March 6th.