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A highly undervalued band, Seven Witches, is one of the rising stars coming from USA. They seem to have kept up their steady progress (each of their albums is better than its predecessor)... However, I haven't heard all of their albums (for some reason I have missed their second and third album). When I heard their debut album "Second War in Heaven" for the first time (about 3 or 4 years ago), I knew that this band has potential. Their fourth album backed up my assumption (it was quite good, but lacked the feel of completeness). Now this fifth album proves that Seven Witches is a band to be aware of!
The first track 'Metal Asylum' is quite ordinary, mediocre heavy metal song (and doesn't deliver the beginning this album deserves). Fortunately the other songs were much better (and darker as well). Mostly songs are classic heavy metal with catchy hooklines and groovy rhythmic department. Regardless, Seven Witches has always had their own unique recognisable sound (although they play classic heavy metal). The best part of this record is the 17-minute song Jacob (tracks 7-14). This kind of idea has been usually carried out on progressive rock/metal albums only. It's nice to see that also ordinary heavy metal bands try to broaden their compositions by building a concept around them (this gave the needed diversity to the record). By the way, James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny’s End and Flotsam & Jetsam) has quite a good voice (he also owns a very high range without sounding annoying). He's definitely one of the best heavy metal vocalist at the moment...
Unfortunately, this album also has its weakness — the production. The mix is good, sounds are solid and powerful (so no complaints regarding mixing). On the other hand, the art of mastering has been neglected (levels are too high causing distortion every now and then). It's a shame, because this album deserved better mastering.
All in all, Year of the Witch is a good classic heavy metal album... I warmly recommend it to all fans of the band and genre. However, it could have been better (mastering needs improvement, and maybe some 'fill' songs could have been replaced with better ones).
Release date: 20.09.2004
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- MAGE (15.09.2004)
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