Burning Witches - Dance with the Devil

Burning Witches Dance with the Devil cover
Burning Witches
Dance with the Devil
Nuclear Blast
I had the chance to watch Burning Witches perform, at Sweden Rock Fest, but I decided to pass the chance of watching their performance in full. I might be big on classic metal, but taking a quintet of nice looking ladies who feel like they jumped out of a Stryper or Bon Jovi video, fashion wise, who want to sound like Priest and Warlock, but end up sounding more like Crystal Viper and the like, is not exactly my definition of a fun day.
They didn’t seem to miss a beat, replacing one good looking blond singer (Seraina Telli) with another one, Laura Guldemond, who looks almost like a facsimile of her predecessor, while at the same time coming up with a new album in addition to an EP and a single in under two years. I dunno if this burst in quantity is based on feeling inspired or if the band is just trying to capitalize on the momentum they seem to have at the moment.
Guldermond for her part seems enthusiastic to be there, but she does sound a bit over the top and rough around the edges compared to Telli’s smoother more hard rock inspired singing. Their live performances, if SRF is anything to go by (I’ve since watched some live videos as well) seem okay, but a little underwhelming and lacking in vibe. They might just need to get more live experience. A lot of bands sound much tighter and impressive after a few years of touring, after all.
What the band lacks is not ability, since their pretty straightforward heavy metal is not exactly very demanding, but their songwriting, which is rather predictable and cliché and getting better at it is something that only comes with more experience. It’s not something one could rush.
While their riffs are not bad, they tend to be rather light for the most part. Solos are competent but not exactly out of this earth. I suppose something that drags the band down is the plain and unimaginative drumming. The groove’s simply not there. The growling back vocals, wherever they occur, add nothing than a Halloween scare factor… sounding more cringy than threatening.
The choruses while not terrible are too simplistic in most cases… there are a couple of standout songs like the title track and opener “Lucid Nightmare”.
“Wings of Steel” has fire, but probably burns down the barn in the process, as in its preoccupation with sounding menacing it just wails out what could have been a fairly neat chorus in a slowed down, drawn out way, that feels just weird. I liked the first part of the solo on this one too.
“Six Feet Under” seems stuck to the whole 80s style, but lacks in groove and is not particularly exciting. This is a reoccurring theme in a lot of the songs, making them sound the same.
“Black Magic” is a ballad, which doesn’t have some glaring fault, but fails to really emote, which is a cardinal sin… if people are not “feeling” a ballad, you must be doing something wrong.
“Sea of Lies” has a somewhat promising chorus, but it’s lost in an ocean of growls… sad waste of a pretty nice riff…
“Sisters of Fate” could probably get a copyright strike by Accept for the riff and while it builds up nicely, the chorus is delivered rather bluntly, thus spoiling what could have been.
“Necronomicon” tries to sound darker and while once again it’s nice riff wise, the arrangements don’t sound as tight as one ‘d have hoped. Choppy execution of what could have been one of the better songs on this album.
“The Final Fight” begins with a very Maidenesque duel, before it settles into a mid-pace sort of epic territory. The chorus is not bad, but the song overall would need some serious rearrangements to make it interesting.
Lastly, “Threefold Return”, while gifted with an okay riff and a chorus that might have worked, has some less than impressive verses that really spoil it.
A cover of Manowar’s “Battle Hymns” – by the band with the addition of original Manowar guitarist Ross The Boss and Symphony X’s Michael Lepond on bass, further exposes the band’s strengths and weaknesses, with the latter outweighing the former.
Reinstating their old singer might not be a bad idea, as she seems a bit more more tuneful both on record and in live performances. But that’s just a personal preference and it’s not as if Guldermond’s more shouty/metal performances that are the real deal breaker, here.
They should keep performing as much as they could, preferably get a new more exciting drummer and find a producer that actually bothers to produce them (ie helps with arranging and edits songs, VS just recording).
There’s some potential in these ladies, but the final product could and should have been much better. Trying to push them into the void that Battle Beast’s tumultuous career, might have opened up in their current state, is more likely to result in them failing to live up to their potential.