SEVEN WITCHES – Passage To The Other Side

SEVEN WITCHES - Passage To The Other Side


Release date: April 8, 2003

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Well, look who’s the creative one! Seven Witches – Savatage: 2-0. Just a year after Xiled To Infinity And One, Jack Frost and his ever changing gang of witches is back to spellbound you. The witching hour still includes drummer Brian Craig and extraordinaire groovy bass Mohawk guru Joey Vera (thank God!), while Wade Black had to hand over the microphone to eighties’ legendary Helstar front man James Rivera. That’s 3 singers in four records, but not even close to the number of ditched touring guitar players in Savatage.

So how does James compare to Wade Black? Hm, Wade was more one of a kind, I would say, while James is more the classical metal screamer sounding very close to a certain Brit at times. Yes, that Brit who forgot to renew his working visa in US lately… The singer aspect has changed, in some ways to the better, some ways not, but the music has indeed gone though a face-lift since last year. “Xiled…” had its fillers, but I can’t say that about “Passage To The Other Side”. Typical power metal, you might say? Ok, but this is the hungriest “Savatage record” since “Hall Of The Mountain King”, and the best “Judas Priest record” since “Painkiller. Jack Frost is an energy boost guitar player, with an attitude that most other players only had in their late teens.

But not only has the songwriting gone through that face-lift, the production this time is much better. Hats off to Vera and Frost. The bass guitar sounds really good, and needless to say, the wall of guitars hits you straight between the eyes. Another record where it’s hard to pick favourite tracks, I would say, simply because the current one playing is mostly beaten by the next. If you force, I must admit that “The Last Horizon” is very cool, and the opener “Dance With The Dead” likewise. And there’s the title track; a mellow piece that just builds up to something larger than life with it’s riff, it makes me remember the demo version of Cinderella’s “Nobody’s Fool”, which was much heavier than the much rotated radio hit finally released. This one is perhaps the best song the witches have done so far, inspired by – I would guess – the passing of Jack’s brother last year, who lost the battle against cancer.

As always with Seven Witches there’s a cover version, this time Def Leppard’s “Wasted”. A funny one, that is. Just like Dragonforce, on the same label by the way, it’s simply up to the people with the bank accounts how far these guys can get. And Kamelot is on the roster as well… Hm, a nice tour would be Dragonforce, Seven Witches and Kamelot, but I can only dream… Metal!!!


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