Celebrating Metal's Past
CoC interviews Witchery
by: Adrian Bromley
Accept, W.A.S.P., Judas Priest and the mighty Black Sabbath. Fuck yeah! Classic pioneering metal bands for us all to digest. It's only right for us to pay homage to these bands. Witchery does. Just what am I talking about, you say? Well, let's just say Witchery has done it again.

Hot on the heels of their successful debut disc _Restless & Dead_, the black metal charged, thrash/speed metal enhanced supergroup disc out some of metal's finest classic with a rip roarin' finesse that only Witchery could call their own. The MCD calling itself _Witchburner_, showcases such covers as Accept's "Fast as a Shark", W.A.S.P.'s "I Wanna Be Somebody", Judas Priest's "Riding on the Wind" and Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights" -- plus three all-new compositions.

Guitarist Jensen fills Chronicles of Chaos in on goods about the MCD and upcoming Witchery material. "We have been listening to the new material that we have just finished up today and it's quite good. The MCD was a lot thrashier than the first record and the new record, titled _Dead, Hot & Ready_, is very heavy metal oriented. It's faster than _Restless & Dead_ and that just goes to show that we aren't slowing down either. We've picked up the pace."

Continues Jensen, "This year we want to put out four albums and we are going to achieve that. We have stuff ready to go. I think it's great to be able to do this and have the drive to put out a good amount of material within a year. For me, personally. I hate it when it takes bands two or three years to have a follow-up record. I mean, fuck that! If you like to play, write a song. Get the fuck away from the Nintendo and write something. Basically, if you have ideas, record them and put them out. We do."

So how did Witchery go about choosing these specific songs for the release? There must have been hundreds of classic songs that could have been covered. Right, Jensen? "We always had focused on these songs, seeing that we had practised them a lot in rehearsals and there was another one that didn't make the cut. It was "Screams From the Grave" by Avator. We felt it didn't go along with the rest of the choices, and plus we wanted to have a very '80s heavy metal vibe going."

"We sat down as a group and discussed what was going to be covered", explains Jensen. ""Fast as a Shark" was going in no matter what. There was no discussion over that one. We all totally agreed it needed to be covered. It's such a fucking great song. There was no real fighting or heated discussions over what songs were to be covered, though concerning the Black Sabbath cover there were some ideas going around. I chose the Black Sabbath song and while there was no arguing, I had to really present my case on why we should cover it. It had to be covered. "Neon Knights" has Ronnie James Dio singing on it. He has the best voice in metal."

"It turned out cool that we did the song", says Jensen. "I mean, everyone who covers a Black Sabbath song always covers a song that Ozzy Osbourne sings on. I got into Black Sabbath with the _Live Evil_ album and the first track is "Neon Knights". It only seemed right to cover that song."

How does Jensen feel about bands covering songs? "I think it shows great respect when bands cover other bands, but what I don't like is when they cover songs just to get a boost out of covering it. That is something I don't like. We covered these songs because we felt that these songs were being overlooked by the metal collective of today. Everyone was more into Dimmu Borgir and these fans hadn't heard the _Restless and Wild_ or _Screaming for Vengeance_ albums. These are great albums to discover and people need to know the history of metal. That is why we did this. It wasn't to get a bigger career move from covering these classics. We fuckin' love these songs. They still kick ass."

Will there be another MCD of covers? "Never say never. Maybe not four covers again, but maybe one or two here and there. Who knows? By covering these four songs as close to the original as possible, I think next time out we might change things around. For example, we might do "So Tired" by Ozzy Osbourne and add like a double-bass drum or something like that. Just soup up the songs so they can be a full, hard-on Witchery song. We want to just rock out and play them as Witchery should."

(article submitted 19/5/1999)

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