Bringing us their first release since 2007’s Deadly Sins, and their eighth release overall, Seven Witches is back with Call Upon the Wicked. Guitar wizard Jack Frost reunites with their former vocalist James Rivera (of Helstar fame). The lineup is rounded out by Mike LePond (Symphony X) and drummer Taz Marazz.
Jack Frost brings us the sharp riffs that we expect from him and James Rivera is as versatile as ever on vocals. Every member of the band plays an integral role in the biting sound offered on Call Upon the Wicked.
The album opens up with Fields of Fire, which is a catchy track with some great guitar work and vocals. The next track, Lilith is one of my favorite on the album. The vocals are the main standout to this biting track, but let’s not sell Jack Frost’s playing short either. The solo is nothing short of wicked. The title track comes at you next with a different look altogether. It is a rock song with some sharp riffs and a very catchy chorus. Ragnarock is another rock-inspired track that will catch you quickly with its chorus. It also boasts one of the finest guitar solos on the album.
End of Days comes in at 9:19 and is the longest track on the album. It starts off with a beautful, clean guitar intro which leads into a song epic in nature with some solid female and male vocal accompaniment. The track is very melodic and comes out pretty epic with a lot of very nice parts.
Mind Games is a track that starts out really sweet with a great thrash riff, but I am just turned off by the lyrics and the constant repitition of “Stop fucking with my head.” This song has the potential to be much more than the track that it is, but the repetitive lines just kill it for me. Harlot of Troy is another decent track with great vocals and some more really nice playing by Frost, but is lacking the punch that some of the earlier track had. The same goes for Eyes of Flame. There are a few melodic moments, but overall nothing to set this one apart from a lot of the other tracks on the album.
The last studio track on this album is a cover of Cream’s White Room, of which the original is an absolute classic that is a tough song to try and improve on. Seven Witches’ version starts of pretty strong though. I love to hear the heavy version of the verses, but then the song starts to fall apart for me. The high vocals kill it for me. I know that is Rivera’s thing, but his voice is plenty strong enough to handle the chorus without the high notes. Had the vocals stayed out of the higher ranges, this would have been a pretty strong cover and one of the better covers of White Room that I would have heard. Although the high vocals do detract from the song, it is not unbearable. It is just not as strong as it could have been.
The last three tracks are live versions of Metal Tyrant, Metal Asylum and Jacob. All are done very well and the soundboard recordings are somewhat sharp although a little more muddy than I would have hoped for.
Commented Frost: “I would just like to say thank you in advance to all of you who have been loyal to SEVEN WITCHES over the years and have waited so patiently for our new release. We also want to tip our hats to the fellow metalheads out there with open minds willing to give a listen to a great new record. Call Upon The Wicked is our latest project, a concept record that was a work in progress. I’m so proud to be releasing such an amazing product of our dedication. The time it took to put out this new addition to the WITCHES family, along with the blood, sweat and tears it took to make it, has been nothing but a wonderful experience for us. This album really captured a dream for me, as it is combination of classic WITCHES style mixed with many of our greatest influences. I can honestly say that our fans will truly understand the devotion and loyalty we have shown to ourselves and our new music, and they will appreciate this record as much as we do. I am honored to be a part of this release, and thank you all so much for checking out our new baby, Call Upon The Wicked.”
Call Upon The Wicked was recorded at Lickman Studios by Frost with co-producers LePond and Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning), who also mixed the record. The CD features material that ranges in sound from classic Judas Priest to a touch of Rainbow. There’s even an epic song featuring female vocals, a new step in the band’s jorueny. Call Upon The Wicked will be released on June 28 via Frost’s own FrostByte Records with North American distribution via eOne Entertainment
Call Upon the Wicked Track Listing:
01. Fields of Fire
03. Call Upon the Wicked
05. End of Days
06. Mind Games
07. Harlot of Troy
08. Eyes of Flame
09. White Room
10. Metal Tyrant
11. Metal Asylum