Seven Witches - _Amped_
(Regain Records, 2006)
by: T. DePalma (0 out of 10)
What a prize Seven Witches had in ex-Helstar vocalist James Rivera and what a miserable turn his absence represents. Not only has all the punch been removed from the once serviceable, if generic quality of the music (a criticism true of nearly every group resigned to a genre long past its epoch), but the lyrical content has also changed to suit the bloated bawling of new singer Alan Tecchio (Hades / ex-Watchtower). As Seven Witches proceed with their latest incarnation, the hard-rock influences have finally usurped their traditional fetishism, gyrating with emphasis on shrunken realism where fantastic narratives had previously dominated. The result is back-tracking, clumsy and above all, unconvincing.

Piling on all manner of clich├ęs, from Tecchio's grotesquely drawn out syllables, punctuating numerous lines with "yeah", on to piano ballads and a closing track titled "Widows and Orphans", Seven Witches reach for dead models with aging limbs, having neither the skill nor strength to make one note of it believable. These empty hard-rock aesthetics masquerading as classic metal are the kind of dulled down, pseudo-purism that fit into the Eighties' mainstream conception of heavy metal (a few riffs that brutally ape Judas Priest cannot change this). Praise for added depth within the lyrics rings just as hollow. Seven Witches may invoke certain issues, but never do they say anything original, interesting or clever regarding terrorism, honor-killings or celebrity, and the way each of these topics mingle with such cheesy, artless sound borders on offensive.

But which came first, guitarist Jack Frost's sterile riffery or Tecchio's contrived voice? It doesn't really matter. On style alone, Tecchio's words prove both impotent and shallow. (Rhyming "meningitis" with "encephalitis" is as thoughtful as this gets.) That all this is performed with greater inelegance turns the album swiftly into a nauseous communion of ideas. If I'm allowed my own queasy conclusion, the only response should be to burn these witches at the stake!


(article published 26/3/2006)

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