Seven Witches – Call For The Wicked (2011)

Posted: July 4, 2011 in Music

Jack Frost is definitely a throwback. As founder/lead guitarist for Seven Witches, the man has been trying everything he can to keep metal relevant over the last fifteen years. Often, Frost has been known to juggle gigs and bands better than the most seasoned circus performer. From stints with Savatage and The Bronx Casket Company, to working with Joey Belladona of Anthrax fame and cutting solo albums, it has never been too difficult to find Frost’s name on something over the last decade plus.

But the heart of his efforts has always been deep inside his first love – Seven Witches. While the band may not be a household name in heavy metal, metal purists are aware of their eight previous albums, carrying the torch as metal’s renaissance men.

With more line-up changes than a little league baseball roster, the band has constantly searched for the right formula and chemistry. The band was at its best and gained the largest share of its popularity during the albums with James Rivera (Helstar) on vocals, and are prepared to regain some the momentum created a few years back by bringing Rivera back on for the group’s latest album, Call For The Wicked.

The album is what you would expect from a Seven Witches release, tight songs, great guitars, and horn-raising metal. For those unfamiliar with the band, I’ll explain next why this is most amazing, yet the band’s curse at the same time.

There was an age of heavy metal that might have been the genres most important, defining era. It was the era of Judas Priest, Rainbow, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne – where the vocals screamed into the night and the guitars blazed with Satan’s fury. Lyrical content was darker and more serious than the hair-metal scene across the street, and the talent was a step above the finger-tapping, smiling faces of other bands gaining popularity at the time.

Seven Witches pay homage to that sound, with a style and appearance that brings back memories of those leather and chains. But are they a tribute band of sorts, or is Frost just stuck in a time warp? The music is done well, but it is hard to find anything overly original about it. I can imagine listening to this album 20 years ago and, while enjoying it, noticing the obvious similarities to the aforementioned acts. Listening to it in 2011 – as a new release – it is just as enjoyable, but from more of a nostalgia aspect.

There really isn’t anything “new” being presented here. The vocals are great, but Lizzy Borden, Ronnie James Dio, and Rob Halford do it better. The guitar licks are also tasty, but nothing K.K. Downing and Randy Rhodes haven’t already fed me.

I credit Frost for staying true to the old school of heavy metal and bringing it to the masses in modern times – but the “comeback” attempts of the scene have been tried before, and if history has proved anything to us, it is that music fans are a stubborn bunch. There are a few of us out there that love hearing albums like these, but as far as saving metal or finding new fans, there is just too many other, more diverse options out there. A shame, really – as this is a great album. It’s just a great album from a simpler, more metal-heavy time. If that’s your thing, give it a try.

As a side note, the band includes a cover of Cream’s classic track “White Room” that is amazing. If you don’t feel like buying an album’s worth of 80s-vibe metal, at least go buy this single.

6.5/10

Tracklist:
01 – Fields On Fire
02 – Lilith
03 – Call Upon The Wicked
04 – Ragnarok
05 – End Of Days
06 – Mind Games
07 – Harlot Of Troy
08 – Eyes Of Flame
09 – White Room
10 – Metal Tyrant
11 – Metal Asylum
12 – Jacob-Priest

http://www.amazon.com/Call-Upon-Wicked-Seven-Witches/dp/B004Y03LXU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309457831&sr=8-1

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