BURNING WITCHES – Dance With The Devil (Album Review)

BURNING WITCHES – Dance With The Devil

Meet The Coven:

The High Priestess, Romana Kalkuhl, and Sonia Nusselder are jointly casting spells on their six-string-divinations together with the remaining two handmaidens, Jeanine Grob, a.k.a. the guardian of the basic esbat and Lala Frischknecht, the lady of the cauldrons. The only thing preventing this duality of shredders from becoming a fascination of their own is the new caller within the circle,
Laura Guldemond.

Judging the Grimoire by the Front Sigil:

It is written that these Witches wanted nothing less than to invoke the fantasy art of Ken Kelly on the cover… Therefore, they hired Gyula Havancsák, who might be less known than Frank Frazetta’s nephew but an adequate substitute, nonetheless. In fact, Gyula has more feathers in his cap than Burning Witches have twigs in their well-endowed besoms.

BURNING WITCHES – Dance With The Devil (Album Review)

photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

The front image perfectly conveys the type of Dance these Swiss metalheads might be referring to. People of the Alps, such as these beauties themselves, perform a little-known War-Dance called Bacchu-Ber, using swords and chants to mesmerize their audiences. I bet that’s what it is.

Log-by-Log makes the Stake to Die for:

“The Incantation” is an intro of sorts, brief to set the atmosphere creepy for the first full-feature, “Lucid Nightmare”, which introduces Laura as their new singer (previously member of the Dutch Symphonic Power Metal band Shadowrise). The transformation of her pipes from the previous band is remarkable. I couldn’t believe my ears. Her deliverance is ten times more powerful, slightly on the higher register, and expertly brushing on King Diamond theatrics. The song is a strong opener with background effects that will send chills down your spine. The solos are ferocious and meticulous, while the chorus will long linger in your ears after its last note fades away.

For me in general, the title tracks have an ungrateful obligation to offer something special. If for nothing else, then for the sake of being singled out. No worries here, “Dance With The Devil” delivers on all expectations, starting with a melodic intro, followed by wailing guitar bridges before the singing even begins. The galloping rhythm section on “Wings Of Steel” is only second to Laura’s voice hitting the highest notes possible, with an ease reminiscent of stealing a condemned soul from the devil’s child. In my mind, the unsettling noise she makes at the end of the song plays out like a fright aimed at the same nefarious offspring. He-He.

BURNING WITCHES – Dance With The Devil (Album Review)

photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

While “Six Feet Underground’ is a riff-tastic dish, “Black Magic” works like a slow poison on me, with an aftertaste I could personally live without. “See Of Lies” is probably the most complex piece on the album. It is full of time changes, yet firmly anchored in Heavy Metal, without crossing into the sophistication of Technical or Prog. “The Sisters Of Fate” is built for a layered guitar grandeur. The next song is easily the most memorable on the album for me. The infectious chorus had me at “Necro-nomi-con”. As we approach the impending end of the ritual these Witches brought to the altar, “Threefold Return” tops “The Final Fight” with lots of appeal to boost our appetite for more.

Mano a Mano, i.e. Mano(war) a (Wo)mano:

Hearing the “Battle Hymn” album by Manowar for the first time back when I was a wee lad, made me a fan of Epic Metal, and no small thanks to Orson Wells’ narration. Upon noticing the bonus track being a tribute to that 1982 masterpiece, secretly I was expecting Elvira to say few words in setting it up. While Mistress of the Dark does not lend her voice on this cover tune, Ross The Boss does stop by for a guest appearance, and so does Mike LePond from Symphony X.

Graduation Night:

BURNING WITCHES – Dance With The Devil (Album Review)

photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Every Father’s worst nightmare is his daughter’s graduation dance. It feels like a downfall, yet he dares to hope she’ll make wise decisions. As it is the case with that proverbial Father, so is the time for the Forefathers of Metal (whoever they might be) to let these girls soar from the nest, headlong and headbanging with none other than the Dark Lord himself. I can hear these words quietly waning in the night: ”Go… Dance… Dance if you must… Dance With The Devil… Just make sure you are home before midnight.” As for the poor bastard? Well, he won’t know what hit him. Therefore, it seems appropriate to close my thoughts with a phrase I once heard the rolling Forefathers sing: “My Deepest Sympathies Go Out For The Devil” … Or something along that line.

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Furthermore, check out our coverage of Burning Witches at Sweden Rock 2019

Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Attila “Yngve J. Chapleen” Kiss