Swiss Female Retro Metal Quintet Bring The Pain
Burning Witches – Hexenhammer
Review by Bryan Morrison
The all female five piece hailing from Brugg, Switzerland known as Burning Witches are currently on the tip of many a metal fan’s tongue, and for good reason. With their sophomore effort, Hexenhammer, the gals make it clear that they can hold their own against any of their male contemporaries.
Formed in 2015 by guitarist, Romana Kalkuhl, the band quickly pulled attention to themselves with their self released debut album in 2017. So much attention in fact that metal heavyweights Nuclear Blast came calling.
Hexenhammer was produced by Destruction mainman Schmier and V.O. Pulver (Pro Pain, Destruction, Nervosa, Panzer) and the duo guide the band along quite nicely. Lyrically, the record revolves around the book Malleus Maleficarum – The Hammer Of The Witches (or, in German Hexenhammer), – which legitimized witch hunting.
The album opens with “Executed” (if you don’t count the haunting intro “The Witch Circle”), recycling a classic sounding thrash riff from 1984 so you know right off the bat what you’re in for. Frontwoman Seraina Telli has a powerful throaty vocal delivery, at times reminiscent of Doro (had to make that comparison) or even Ice Age’s Sabrina Kihlstrand – aggressive and melodic. This is ever present on “Lords Of War”, which is a chugging, powerful number that lets us know the girls aren’t all about speed. “Open Your Mind” picks the pace back up again with a fierce shriek from Telli that makes your spine creep up on you.
As the title suggests “Don’t Cry My Tears” is the token ballad on Hexenhammer. A nice change up for the album, the song is strong and sorrowful. Rain, bells in the distance and torture make up “Dungeon of Infamy”, the intro to “Dead Ender”, which sounds like it could have been on the debut Dio album. The album’s title track is an absolute beast of a number, with drummer Lala Frischknecht showing off some particularly tasty percussive skills.
“Maneater” is NOT a cover of the Hall and Oates pop song but a mid tempo thumper with some fantastic guitar work from Romana and Sonia Nusselder. The line “Stay for dinner – forever!” tells you all you need to know about where Telli’s head was at when she wrote these lyrics. Hexenhammer closes with a powerful rendition of “Holy Diver” that would have made Ronnie himself proud.
If Burning Witches keep this level of proficiency up you can bet you’ll soon see their name alongside Krokus, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and Coroner when it comes to classic metal emanating from this smallest of countries.
FOLLOW BURNING WITCHES ONLINE:
Pre-Order Available: nblast.de/BWExecuted