Bewitched - _Rise of the Antichrist_
(Osmose Productions, 2001)
by: Quentin Kalis (
Unlike most other bands which deliver Satanic-themed missives, Bewitched make strong use of retro-sounding thrash rhythms (in conjunction with similarly dated solo structures). This, in addition to their over-the-top blasphemous lyrics, makes for a surprisingly interesting -- not to mention entertaining -- listen. So why does such a backward-looking album work in the 21st century? There are a good number of reasons. Firstly, the solos are not extraneous bits of musical showmanship that do not add anything whatsoever to the song itself. Solos which really do engage the listener and work with the song are infrequent, and Bewitched deserve recognition for this element of their music. Secondly, the solos tend to work with the song rather than against it, as so many solos are wont to do. Thirdly, they do write some damn good songs -- the likes of "Under Satan's Spell" and "The Ripper's Return" are intense, powerful songs. But despite Bewitched's strong and unmistakable use of thrash elements, it somehow seems wrong and inaccurate to describe this as a thrash release -- rather, it is a thrash-inspired release. Whilst I haven't had the pleasure of hearing any of Bewitched's previous albums, Bewitched don't give the impression of being innovators, and I have no reason to believe that there are any significant changes on _RotA_. Their blatant over-the-top Satan worship does get somewhat trying after a few songs, but as a whole this is an engaging, undemanding album, which is likely to spend a not insignificant period of time on any metalhead's CD player. [Paul Schwarz: "It took some resolve -- not to mention mantra like repetition of the creed, "You won't know if you'll like it 'til you listen to it" -- for me to get through the thirty-odd minutes of _Rise of the Antichrist_. Bewitched have never impressed me; only over their atrocious live album, _Hell Comes to Essen_ [CoC #37], would I choose to listen to _RotA_."]
(article published 7/3/2002)
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